Premiered: April 30th, 2010 | Theater Artaud, San Francisco
Deborah Slater Dance Theater presents the world premiere of Men Think They Are Better Than Grass, an innovative and powerful multidisciplinary dance work that celebrates the company’s 20th anniversary. Men Think They Are Better Than Grass is a large-scale, multidisciplinary work that draws upon the beauty of the natural world and inspired by the poetry of deep Ecologist W.S. Merwin. Featuring a new score by Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi, this meditation on the environment is co-directed by choreographer Deborah Slater and director Jayne Wenger.
Men Think incorporates poetry, original music, set design, videography, and interactive technology to create an environment that continues to expand, through a wikipedia-like web component, with new information long after the end of the performances.
This new form of reciprocity between art, technology, and the stage – artistically innovative, participatory, and solution-oriented – is at the heart of Men Think and shapes the creative process and the performance experience for artists and audiences alike. While the thematic focus of the piece is seemingly ominous, the work itself is composed of lush and vibrant movement, inspired by nature; the words of a poem projected as a swarm of bees flying; fabric panels creating mobile projection surfaces for shifting images like icebergs or rising and falling weighing scales – the perfect metaphor for global cause and affect and the dynamic collaboration it will take to change it. Working with ideas of memory of place and interconnectedness, Slater has created a visual, moving tapestry that blends sound, word and image using techniques like developing gesture from the poetic text.
All photos by Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang of Wendy Rein, Natalie Green, Travis Rowland, Kerry Mehling, Breton Tyner Bryan, Private Freeman, Shaunna Vella, Kelly Kemp