CLOSE MUSIC FOR BODIES (Michael Kiley): 2017 Fringe review

CMFB ImageCLOSE MUSIC FOR BODIES is sensual choral performance. Sixty-five of us follow the directions of the performers and position, and re-position, ourselves around the big, open space at the Christ Church Neighborhood House. The gentle, kindly smiling performers move among us singing, at times to one of us, and sometimes directly onto one of us.

The lyrics weave together personal narratives, such as a first sexual experience or a tragic fire, with anatomical descriptions of the body parts which go into making sound, such as the diaphragm, the lungs, or the ear.

The philosophy of the piece is that singing and resonance are real, physical, and pleasurable. “Sound is in the form of waves, which have shapes,” they sing. Resonance is real, and pleasurable. But there is also fear, they tell us – the anxiety about how we sound. And this fear, they sing, “is real, too.”

Each of us will get at least one individual experience with a singer. Sometimes five singers will surround a single audience member and sing into them, building a chord on top of them. Despite being the center of attention, even the shyest attendee grins widely. At one point, the twelve singers wander through the space in pairs, singing high-pitched “ooos” into our shoulders and necks. We feel the physical sensation that is sound, and the pleasure that is being sung for and into, gently.

[Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street] September 20-24, 2017. fringearts.com/event/close-music-for-bodies.

 

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About the author

Julius Ferraro

Julius Ferraro is a journalist, playwright, performer, and project manager in Philadelphia. He is co-founder of Curate This and editor-in-chief of thINKingDANCE. His recent plays include Parrot Talk, Micromania, and The Death and Painful Dismemberment of Paul W. Auster.