PACIFICA PERFORMANCE SHOWCASE
AIRDATE: 12/18/09, 2:30 – 3:00 pm
HOST: Donna Walker
GUEST: RACHEL ROSENTHAL, (Part 1)
Legendary author/artist Rachel Rosenthal defies description. Deemed by a marvel and a monument, her multi-disciplinary artistic approach integrates text, movement, voice, choreography, improvisation. In pioneering performance pieces such as “Rachel’s Brain,” “Gaia, Mon Amour,” and “L.O.W.”, she blew apart conventional theatrical frameworks. Heavily influenced by Antonin Artaud’s “Theatre of Cruelty,” Rosenthal paved the way for future generations of performance artists. Says L.A. Times Art & Culture writer, Scott Timberg, “If Laurie Anderson was a Parisian-born octogenarian theater pioneer, she might be Rachel Rosenthal.”
She describes her new book, The DbD Experience (Doing by Doing) – Chance Knows What It’s Doing, as part instructional manual, part manifesto, and part memoir. She recently founded the improvisatory theatrical group TOHUBOHU (Hebrew for “chaos”, “hubbub”). Although she stopped performing in 2000, Rachel Rosenthal is still going strong at 83, conducting life transforming workshops, using connection to one’s own power to dispel fear, expand horizons and break down barriers for artists and non-performers alike, through devotion, humility, patience, understanding and magical expectation.
Sharing her thoughts on her remarkable career and the evolution of her creative philosophy, along with reminiscences of friends and colleagues such as John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, a quote by her mentor, Merce Cunningham, illuminates her artistic philosophy. “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but the SINGLE FLEETING MOMENT WHEN YOU FEEL ALIVE. IT IS NOT FOR UNSTEADY SOULS.” Substitute Total Free Improvisation and you have the Rosenthal message.
As she says in her work, “Timepiece”: “The human brain is a time machine; neurons are a gift; synapses are what we make of our lives. When synapses are not used, they die and within memory dies. There are things to know – old things – keepsakes of the once lived. Where do we keep the archives? We must tell our stories; we must tell each others’ stories; we must tell the earth’s stories or else all of it dies.”
For more info on Rachel Rosenthal, visit www.rachelrosenthal.org. Copies of this show can be ordered through the Pacifica Radio Archives at www.pacificaradioarchives.org.