A little repetition can be surprisingly refreshing. At a glance, the second part of Soprano Lisa Harris’ performative installment “No Matter How Hard I Try I Can’t Look The Same As I Did Yesterday” seemed identical to the first. But a true performer knows that every performance is unique unto itself—nothing is ever exactly the same.
Titled “Being Alive,” Friday night’s performance is the final part of a two-part installation at Fresh Arts following the first, “Memory,” which was performed September 13. Friday, September 27, will mark the end of the installation with a closing party at Fresh Arts.
The same heavy velvet curtains draping over projections of Liza Minnelli and the same Sondheim bouncing off the concrete surfaces made for an uncanny audience experience—had we all stumbled into the same performance? Simply standing in a different part of the room than last week, I realized when Harris spoke into the mirror, she actually responded to a dialogue in one of multiple sound recordings running through the room: The recording asked “Can you give us a little more attitude” and Harris replied “I’ve got plenty of attitude!”
As an audience member remarked during the closing question-and-answer with Harris, this installation broke its icy separation from the audience with an easy interplay between performer and her audience, even including a sing-a-long with that catchy Streisand classic “People.” The chalk circle of insecurities—“wounding, dismemberment”—still marked the floor, but as Harris looked at her image in the mirror and announced “I’m happy,” it was clear this night was about overcoming those psychological hurdles every performer faces.
Harris stated after the performance she wanted to pull us into her vulnerability. Moving from a retrospective mood last week to “Being Alive,” Harris brought an organic vivacity to something that could have been a blasé repeat. And largely, it had to do with engaging the audience. Is a performer ever really alone on that stage? In Harris’ own words, “We all just did this performance together.”
For more info about Lisa Harris, check this out: http://lisaeharris.tumblr.com/