One of the most remarkable things about Eiko & Koma’s very remarkable Memory, performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the spring of 1997, was the degree of control they exerted: control over their own bodies, control over the environment (most notably a chain-link fence and reflective pools of water), control over the audience–I felt pinned to my seat by this exquisitely painful and beautiful piece. But with The Caravan Project: When Nights Were Dark the Japanese-born husband-and-wife team relinquish much of their control. Around dusk they pull up to a park in a Jeep with a trailer, turn the trailer into a portable stage, and attract whatever nonpaying customers they can for as long as they can during the performance; when they did the piece in New York, they let the surroundings determine whether or not they used music. Wearing fragile, ethereal costumes, for a couple of hours they inhabit the inside of the trailer–described by Performing Arts Chicago executive director Susan Lipman as organic-looking yet vibrant, as if it were on fire–performing their characteristically mesmerizing, incrementally changing movement. If watching grass grow appeals to you, you may be one of the many riveted by their work. All performances are hosted by PAC; the final one is also part of the Around the Coyote festival. Thursday and next Friday, September 9 and 10, from 7:30 to 10 at Seneca Park (east of Michigan between Chicago and Pearson); next Saturday, September 11, from 7:30 to 10 at Wicker Park (Damen south of the North/Milwaukee intersection). Free, and audiences are free to come and go as they please. Call 773-772-5463 for information. –Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Terri Lappe.