Monday, March 12, 2018

Margin Notes: The Signature Project

Patrick Dunning with musician Cat Patterson and
dancer Melissa Maricich. Photo by Ingrid Butler.

Seen on: Friday, 3/09/18.
My grade: A-

Plot and Background
Dubliner Patrick Dunning has been working on a massive artwork for the past twenty-five years, made entirely out of 171 4x4 canvases covered in signatures. He tours these canvases around, gathering further signatures and stories to tell, in this multimedia performance of visual art, storytelling, music, and dance, in the ongoing quest to complete his magnum opus.

What I Knew Beforehand
I knew loosely that this was a multi-media performance somehow related to an artwork, but not much else, as I wanted to let myself be surprised.


In telling the story of his life and of his art, Patrick Dunning speaks of passing "beyond the visible light." Sometimes this means when people, such as his father - immortalized in a metallic paint portrait visible only under an X-ray of Square 43 - pass away. Sometimes it means that you need to reexamine a thing to see its full nature; look at it from a different angle, or, more literally, from a different light (ultraviolet, infrared, and X-ray, to name a few) to see what's there. The mission to make each moment of life and of his work worth this reexamination is at the heart of his mural, and of the performance piece around it, The Signature Project. From a distance, his massive mural is a celestial celebration, with Earth, the stars, the crescent moon, the galaxy, framing a shining sun with a heart at its center. Up close, each 4x4 square within the work is a tapestry of signatures in different colored acrylic inks. Up close, he can tell you the story of individual signatures on his mural. Some squares have hidden within them metallic paintings seen only by X-ray. Some squares are overlaid with sections of an ornately flowered silhouette of a man embracing the painting, the central heart in his chest, but visible only under ultraviolet light. Every inch of his mural is crafted and planned, and Dunning has so many stories to tell. He doesn't know when the work will be finished. He doesn't know where the work will go. But perhaps it is the journey of the work, his travels, his stories, and the stories he collects along the way, which make this memorable: it is a work of memories set to outlive every person whose name is but a piece of its whole.


Running: Now playing at The Sheen Center - Opening: March 11, 2018. Closing: March 25, 2018.
Category: multi-sensory theatrical experience/a play & artwork with music & dance
Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes, no intermission.

Creative Team

Playwright: Patrick Dunning with additional text by Leegrid Stevens & Eric Paul Vitale
Music: Brian Dunning and Patrick Dunning
Director: Eric Paul Vitale
Designers: Melissa Maricich (Choreography and Assistant Director), Elise Wright (Irish Dance Choreography), Sarah Tupper (Costume, Hair & Makeup), Tanner Simpson (Lighting), Jason Pointek (Associate Lighting Design), Jorge Olivo, Patrick Dunning, Neil Blume (Sound), John Erickson, Patrick Dunning, Neil Blume (Projections), Mark Barron (Orchestrations).
Cast: Patrick Dunning, Emily Duncan, Cody Marcukaitis, Melissa Maricich, Cat Patterson (and featuring different Irish Step Dancers each performance; at my performance: Nora Delehanty, Liz Meshel, Hana Mehmedovic).

Patrick Dunning in front of a projection of his vision for the final work.
Photo by Ingrid Butler.

No comments:

Post a Comment