Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - Page 12 News List

A Horse of a different color

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

The final transformation involves a long piece of some form of plasticized paper, which hangs from the rafters on a roller. Chen grabs hold of the end of the paper that is hanging down from the roller and pulls it out diagonally until the paper drops free of the roller. He then lies down on the end and begins to gather the paper over and around his body, moving like some amorphous creature from a science fiction film. The audience catches a glimpse of an arm or a leg, but otherwise Chen is completely concealed, blending in with the paper to the extent you could not tell where he left off and the paper began.

In the 10-minuteTransit, set to composer Michael Gordon’s Weather Three (Sirens) — Chen again must perform within the confines of a prop, only this time it is a large, upright wooden box, pegholed in the back. Short metal rods are placed in an apparent random pattern in about a score of the holes.

Chen begins the piece tightly balled up in the upper right-hand corner of the box. By the end, he is tightly curled in the lower left-hand side. To get from point A to point B, he must manipulate his body over and through the rods, often with his head hanging down, occasionally stretching full out horizontally, or on a downward diagonal, or in an upside down crucifixion pose.

About halfway through the piece I realized that Chen’s goal was to make it to point B; the only question in my mind was whether he would make it there before the annoying air-raid siren sounds drove me crazy. Luckily for me, Chen made it first.

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