John Moran and "What if Saori Had a Party?" at PS122

John Moran: 'Saori's Birthday!' (excerpt 1)

Saori, the animated host of a children's cartoon program, lives in a bubble

Wow. We don't often get a second chance to experience one of John Moran's creations, but this week Performance Space 122 is hosting a return of "Saori's Birthday!" as part of its COIL festival.

You don't have just my word for its virtues, since the Gia Kourlas, the NYTimes critic, included it among her personal list of the most important new works of the year, and last October Alexis Soloski of The Voice wound up her review with these lines:

A brief confection, lasting barely 40 minutes, What If Saori Had a Party? continues Moran's recent trend away from his large-scale operas of the '90s—performed at venues such as Lincoln Center and A.R.T.—and toward smaller, more intimate works. It also continues his longtime interest in representing characters not quite human or not quite whole; other works have concerned robots, child-men, and Jack Benny. And it marks another collaboration—likely not the last—with the luminous Tsukada. As she slides about her airless space, registering every pre-recorded shriek, shudder, whistle, and thump, she's profoundly silly. Tsukada's gyrations, Moran's thorny score, and the air of candy-colored dread—what a swell party this is.
Performances of this twenty-first-century dance/music/theater gem continue today through Sunday. Tickets can be reserved on the PS 122 site. They're pretty cheap, but they're also just about priceless.

Barry and I hope to see it again on Saturday.

Alastair Macauley reviews the piece in the NYTimes today (February 11).

[image and video borrowed from Moran's MySpace page]

Thanks for keeping on the Moran beat! As of mid-morn Saturday Jan 12, there are still seats available for the Sunday Jan 13 6:30 performance, too.