Yesterday I attended the highly anticipated James Franco and Laurel Nakadate Performa 11 commission titled Three Performances In Search of Tennessee Williams. As entertaining as it was, the audience made up of art snobs a plenty kept me incredibly intrigued about the New York art world . I’m not much of an art intellectual so it was very funny to hear arguments about seating before the performance began and watch a group of people take themselves maybe a little bit too seriously. Fortunately Laurel’s continuous smile on stage and Franco’s mischievous and playful charm brought some laughs and a more relaxed setting.
During the first part of the performance the artists invite the audience to attend a séance, in order to contact the late playwright of the Glass Menagerie. The second segment involves a life-size video projection of Franco playing the part of the Gentleman Caller while interacting with the actresses on stage, ( one was a famous lady gaga impersonator) in a karaoke style audition. Franco and Nakadate are seated on the side and direct the actresses exploring the distinction between artist and observer, ( and who know’s what else)…..It was Franco’s solo make out session and funky dance moves that were the highlight ( well at least for me, it was).
In the final segment male actors audition for the role of Tom. Again Franco and Nakadate participate in a wacky interaction with the third male actor where Franco actually spits on his face to create a fake tear. All very silly and in good fun. While some might object and say it was absolute genius, Ill be honest and admit I was just really happy to see James Franco so up close on a fine Sunday afternoon.
Leila Antakly is the founder and editor of Ninu Nina | November 13 2011