Landmarks: A Mass of Muscle and Bone, Pyewacket, at Belle Plaine Studio. Kate Harris’s reworked meditation on nakedness and the life of the artist’s model brings into sharper relief the piece’s central polarities: between being an ideal woman and a real one, between seeing ourselves and being seen by others, between the body as artistic form and as physical reality. Likewise on her second try director Kerstin Broockmann uses humor, understated choreography, and well-chosen music to give momentum to an essentially static script. Actresses Katie Binder, Heather L. Tyler, and Harris herself capture the weird mix of self-satisfaction and self-hatred with which most women regard their bodies. And each (especially Harris) communicates the shifting balance between nudity as armor against emotional exposure and as a means of attaining emotional connection. An embarrassment of lovely images near the end suggests Broockmann isn’t sure how to stop, but better too many ideas than too few.
Landmarks still shows the weaknesses of a memoir: the difficulty of dramatizing what’s interior and the annoying way real life has of sounding staged whether the topic is anorexia, abuse, or the death of a loved one. But this time around there’s a climactic moment, when Harris conveys viscerally as well as intellectually the shock of recognizing our bodies as truly ourselves: no matter how they change, they’re the only tangible evidence of the continuity of our lives.