“Exit” – An EMPAC Dance event that wants you to sleep – Pillows Provided [Berkshire on Stage]

“EXIT” at EMPAC at RPI in Troy (Photo by Hendrik De Smedt)
“EXIT” at EMPAC at RPI in Troy (Photo by Hendrik De Smedt)

Story by Larry Murray

Here’s a free performance that will endeavor to lull its audience to sleep. On purpose. On January 25 at 7 pm, Troy’s EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hosts a free dance performance of EXIT, a dance performance by Belgian artist Kris Verdonck and choreographer Alix Eynaudi. EMPAC’s dance + theater curator experienced the piece recently and can attest to its effectiveness He did indeed fall asleep, and that it was a good thing. You will discover the reasons why should you attend. The purpose of this performance and experiment is not so much having the audience enter deep sleep as it is to demonstrate the way your brain synthesizes information while in that half-awake, half-asleep initial stage of slumber. For hard working people who are usually a bit short of sleep anyway, this is not as difficult as it sounds. There is an element of hypnotic suggestion.

With EXIT, Kris Verdonck and Alix Eynaudi steer the audience’s perception by playing with basic theatrical elements such as light, sound, movement, language, and scenography.

What value does our society attach to relaxation, rest, silence, sleep and laziness? Are we not caught up more than ever in the relentlessness of production and consumption? These are the central themes behind this research and performance. The audience is invited to become co-conspirators in this experiment.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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