The Murder Ballad (1938) by Poor Dog Group

I went to see a theater performance at REDCAT last night!  Previously, I had seen a performance art and poetry installation at the gallery, but this was my first time inside the cozy theater.

When the doors opened, my boyfriend and I sat down and took in the view: a sterile white stage and nothing else.  The main performer/dancer creeped in slowly from one side.  She was steady and in control of every muscle in her body.  A recording of the Murder Ballad (a song recorded by Jelly Roll Morton for the Library of Congress) started playing.  It told a story of a woman who kills her lover’s mistress in a fit of rage.  As the rolling Southern tune and witty lyrics played in the background, the performer’s body became more fluid, leading up to the shocking release of sexual, angry energy.  In addition to her outstanding talent in modern dance and captivating performance, her piercing eyes left a lasting impression.

At one point, she poured bottles of water in her mouth and over her body.  The floor became wet and slippery but her steadiness remained.  A male performer entered the stage and wavered between masculine and feminine energy.  His rapid footwork on the wet stage in complete darkness left haunting knocks in the minds of the audience.

The entire experience was entertaining and has made me a life-long fan of Poor Dog Group!  I am so pleased that Los Angeles is home to such an avant-garde theater group.  Cheers to their success!


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