Baby, said Alice B. Toklas. . .
A 15 minute experiment in self-performing theater
Conceived and constructed by Hanne Tierney Engineering design by Oskar Strautmanis
April 15 - May 28 at the Knockdown Center
59-19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, NY
The precise movements of two cloth figures, hula hoops, copper pipes, and fabric configurations are being controlled in full sight by a wood and plexiglas machine/sculpture. An elaborate, visible, pre-programmed robot-brain sends messages to the sculpture, whose levers literally pull the strings of the performing materials, creating the gestures and dialogue.
The figures are Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, arguing over the worth of Stein's avant-garde plays and operas. As the lovers debate, semi-abstract objects perform excerpts from two of Stein’s plays to ratify her conviction of her modernist genius. Eric Satie's music underscores the zeitgeist of the era.