The Heart of the Labrynth 

  About the Project

 

 
 
This was a one day performance piece created for Henry Rosenthal, a San Francisco indepedant film producer. The entire experience was based on a long written interview, and in person interview and interviews with his friends. All of this information was used to deconstruct Henry's identity into a series of experiences that became a symbolic dream ritual to reach his deeper self. Below are a few scenes from the experience.

Read the write-up about the project from the SF Bay Guardian.

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NEW PROJECT STARTING NOW FOR MAY 22nd, 2005 - download PDF

 
The Doppleganger

Henry entered into Yerba Buena Gardens where he encountered one of his friends talking to one of our performers. The friend asked Henry to share the story of his two-headed calf. As Henry began to speak, one of our performers, dressed like Henry in the red hat, appeared and stole the story. As he continued to tell the story, more and more people, including some of his friends, appeared from the lawn and began to listen to the fake Henry. Katharine, a reporter for the SF Bay Guardian, then interviewed the fake Henry while the real Henry (sitting with sunglasses) listened. Henry, now robbed of his identity, was gently pulled away by a woman singing who led him underneath the Marting Luther King Jr. waterfall memorial where Henry bathed himself for purification.

 
 

The Ship

The myth of the Labrynth was used to tie together many of the events and the themes. Earlier in the day, Henry had walked the labrynth in Sibley Volcanic Preserve and received a golden ball of string from an Ariadne figure. As the sun was setting in Sibley, he was greeted by two undertakers who placed him in a coffin filled with dirt. Henry rode in the coffin, with the lid on, to the ship. The rest of the performance took place on the ship, which became a dream like labrynth in which Henry's experiences might take him to the heart of who he really is. On the ship, he was confronted with many aspects of himself, through performance, exercises and installations. At times, he was isolated in large parts of the ship which he was free to explore.

 
  The Doctor's Office

Henry is very fond of horror films. So we decided to create a campy horror film for him. Around 11:00 in the evening, Henry was led into a doctor's office where a french butcher (Fred Grasset) and a surreal nurse (Amy Petrolati) began to take care of his needs. This included urination, taking medication for his bronchial condition. The butcher was entirely mad and played with knives and cow tongues. His big operations was carving out a new heart made of meat which the nurse then wrapped around his chest with saran wrap.

 
  The Meat Heart

After Henry was let go from the doctor's office, he wondered down a hallway into a kitchen that contained three giant caudron's. Out fo the cauldron's emerged three witches that began to chase Henry in an attempt to grab and eat his new meat heart. Henry defended his heart admirably and they could not get it from him. This was a complete surprise to us, as we expected the witches would get the heart. So, for the next 12 hours, Henry carried the heart around with him. Here is a phot of him holding the heart while he was at a cocktail party.

 
  The Cocktail Party

The Cocktail party occurred sometime around 1 am in the upper deck of the ship. Many of the performers were there in the costumes in which Henry had encountered them previously, but no one knew who they were or what they were doing. Henry went around the room and listened to the strange dialogue. It was like a ship of lost souls. Slowly, one by one, people began to pull out masks of Henry's face and talk to him about event that had happened to him during the day as if they were Henry. Here is the undertaker (John Wheeler) who had put Henry in the coffin telling Henry about being in the coffin while Henry's friend Erling listens.

 
  The Trial

At the haert of the ship's labrynth was the minotaur, Henry's own two-headed calf. The two-headed calf is one of Henry's prized possessions and acted as a symbolic representation of himself. The climatic scene occurred in the hold of the ship around 7:30 am. When Henry had first arrived on the ship, he was asked to write out his crimes and virtues on separate pieces of paper. These two pieces of paper were then used by the prosecutor (Abe Burickson) and Defender (Matthew Purdon) to argue the case of the two headed calf. Henry was asked to be the juror of the trial. The entire stage was surrounded by a second and third level balconies. On the second level, the audience and the judge observed the trial. The tiral lasted about an hour. At the conclusion, Henry read a moving speach declaring the calf not guilty. It was a moment of self-redemption. As he spoke, the powerful waves pounded the sides of the ship. When he said "Not Guilty" at the end of the speech, a bright white light from above flooded the stage as white feathers fell. The most beautiful feather floated down into Henry's hand, the same hand that had been holding his heart. It was as if Osiris himself had been watching the trial and had judged Henry heart to be as light as a feather.