GRIFTER’S Gambit is an operatic, tragi-comic video/sound installation, surrounding the audience in a multi-sensory experience.
GRIFTER’S Gambit: A black box of 4 walls (20’ x 20’+) of projected, high-octane color kaleidoscopic videos light the room in concert with a 30-minute chorale composition I create from studio recordings of two vocalists I direct to sing my 18-page libretto. I orchestrate the score in such a way that visitors activate different components of the composition, as they interact with it simply by moving through space. This will be accomplished by smartphones & position tracking antennas. Thusly, engaging the audience includes them, making them participants playing the room as an instrument. As they recognize themes that plague humanity, they become stakeholders. They can join at any time & stay as long as they wish. This technique builds upon the research I developed with Phil Edelstein & David Reeder for LocaleS3, exhibiting in September 2023, as a New Works Residency commission, at Harvestworks on Govenor’s Island.
The libretto testifies to & lampoons archetypes, contemporary & historical references to the human condition. It satirizes human foibles that bring us repeatedly into conflict. In vibrant color-patterned costumes, filmed dancers are projected onto transparent scrims. Scrims are suspended in contrast & in front of pulsating video wall projections. The dancers animate their patterned costumes against the energetic videos. Color & movement clash & collide. Posing & voguing to insinuating lyrics, dancers leap & perform occasional burlesque moves. Periodically vocalists sing the text, while parodying recognizable melodies known for their wit, such as “Cabaret’s Mein Herr”, “Hey Big Spender” and “Money, that’s What I Want”.
Singers are directed to play with the lyrics, by riffing on & incorporating a variety of vocal styles such as operatic, Elizabethan, country & pop formats. With humor & irony, they sing about the absurd situation humanity finds itself in. We experience the collision of personal, social & political desire, pressures that constantly jockey for power & influence.
Through levity GRIFTER’S Gambit fosters awareness to invite change.