Inside the Mind of the Elderly
If you’ve seen a Hand2mouth show in the last eight years, you’ve seen Erin Leddy: unforgettable presence, great moves, can make a small, human act heartbreaking or thump the hell out of some karaoke- Funkadelic.
While wearing a ridiculous, red white and blue getup.
This year’s Fertile Ground Festival sees the longtime company collaborator go solo, in a manner of speaking – she’s still directed by H2M artistic director Jonathan Walters, so she’s not going completely Lionel Ritchie on the company – in an original, one-woman show inspired by a year spent with her grandmother.
“My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow” is a performative meditation on memory and consciousness spawned by spoken memoirs Leddy recorded in 2001. Though she’s shown excerpts at On the Boards in Seattle, Portland Center Stage’s JAW Festival and H2M’s “Risk/Reward” series, Fertile Ground 2011 sees the whole enchilada for the first time. And Leddy’s provocative grey haired lady in waiting promo shot made her our Festival’s poster girl in American Theatre this month. (Hear a short excerpt read on KBOO’s “Stage and Studio” from Jan. 4).
Leddy’s work is supported by a sonic and visual landscape crafted by Chris Kuhl, Ash Black Buffalo, Holcombe Waller and Jane Paik. It’s a “strange control station of the mind,” according to the show’s press materials, in which songs, stories and dances come and go, intergenerational thoughts intermingle and heirlooms are redefined. Expect a fine art installation sensibility stitched into live performance elements floating around like cataracts over the pupils of our loved ones.
Legend has it Walters found Leddy, who’s played a key role in co-devising the company’s 14 original shows – in an open audition call for performers. Since then, the company’s work has taken on cross-cultural collaborations in Poland and Mexico, as well as touring extensively throughout the Northwest, San Francisco, and New York City. Leddy’s special focus has been on composing and choreography.
Leddy received a prestigious residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York, to develop ‘Meadow,’ and was later commissioned by On the Boards in Seattle, in addition to receiving support from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission and the William T. Colville Foundation.
“My Mind is Like an Open Meadow” runs January 20 – 30, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. All performances at the mOuth, 810 SE Belmont. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; of course FREE with Fertile Ground Festival Pass. Buy tickets here and join the company for a post-show reception Friday, Jan. 21.