Anything less is less than reckless act  
choreography & direction Donna Miranda | dramaturgy Angelo V. Suarez

performers (on video): Marah Arcilla & PJ Rebullida

Photo Credit: Mervin Espina

To go to the theater or to go shopping, to watch a dance performance or to watch the latest John Lloyd Cruz movie: before one goes thru an aesthetic experience, s/he must 1st of all make the decision to experience it. (Even a supposedly ‘accidental’ aesthetic experience must be distinguished as such to be experienced as such, in cases where, for example, one opts to consider the supermarket as a vast theatrical space, or the commercial movie as a kind of dance.) The decision to do so, however, means deciding not to do something else; a possibility is always foreclosed. 

Anything less is less than a reckless act calls attention to this decision-making process as constitutive of the aesthetic experience itself. Choreographing more than just moving bodies but the conditions w/in w/c these bodies move, Miranda pursues in this performance work what she has called “an exercise in disclosure & transparency.” But transparency about what, the disclosure of what exactly?  

Possibly the modes of production in a work of dance, possibly the theatrical machinery one subjects him/herself to in the very act of watching. Dubbed as a “research-performance project,” Anything less is less than a reckless act may as well be called “a dance-lecture in two rooms,” confronting its spectators w/ the inevitability of making choices: Faced w/ the fact that thruout the duration of the work they can only endure what transpires in 1 of 2 available rooms—that they cannot simultaneously endure both—the audience is bullied into picking w/c 1 to be in: the room where a video that features 2 dancers enacting a duet is being played where the audience knows nothing of its context or mode of production, or the room in w/c the video is absent but where Miranda talks in a lecture-type set-up about the unseen video’s motivation & mode of production. 

But knowing that even such forms of choice or participation (the term in vogue these days is “interactivity”) only reasserts the active-performer/passive-audience micro-political structure of theater—theater, after all, can only thrive w/ this a-priori distinction; theater is kept safe, kept from being reckless, by this very distinction; theater by virtue of being theater will always fail to be reckless—Miranda exposes the sick humor of participation, of this seeming democratization of performance: just as the oppressed classes in a democracy in an electoral context get to eagerly vote for w/c leaders will oppress them next, passive audience members in this work of dance are given the chance to eagerly vote for the means w/ w/c they will be further made passive. 

There is, of course, always the option not to watch Anything less is less than a reckless act. But who among us finds no pleasure in occasionally being subjugated, especially when subjugation comes minus the threat of authentic recklessness?

* produced in cooperation with French Embassy in Manila and Rimbun Dahan (Malaysia)


Of course not, this is a bathtub
choreography & direction: Donna Miranda | music: Powe Martinez
technical direction: Red Lasam | camera: Poklong Anading | lights: Roman Cruz

Photo Credit: Sam Kiyoumarsi

Complete with vows of unending love till death do us part the dance ensues. Long after ‘high’ has settled into the dust another attempt yet awaits. And follow we do – the trail of pleasure luring us back into the vicious cycle of trial and errors albeit some rage resting underneath broken tiles, misty bathroom mirrors and confessional toilet seats. The persistent persists. Never say die for tomorrow we drink!

By way of Albert Camus’ Myth of SisyphusOf Course Not, This is a Bathtub probes the familiar in detournement. After a rather bumpy start of its awaited bathtub tour of the city, we take the comfort and betraying privacy of an apartment bathroom in the beating heart of former Manila bohemia. Feeding the delightful voyeur, tracing the intimate glances in between breaths, the dance shall take place within the confines of an ordinary living space and breadth of our imaginations with audience and happening bleeding as one. In this conspired activity, the performance brings each one of us back into the awkward melodrama of the spectacle embedded in our everyday. As we confront the inescapable reality of our media mediated lives we bravely attempt to embrace the necessary evil of TV entertainment 

The piece delves into the constructive elements of melodrama when tragedy meets its comic relief. This solo dance piece fishes into the discourse of the absurd similarly touching upon the tenuous relationship of the puppet and puppet-master asking the ever pressing question of our time ‘who is moved by whom’ and ‘who is watched by whom.’ Echoing Sisyphus’ endless tormenting journey of pushing a rock over a hill, completing the task only to start all over again. And if you need to ask if this is yet another cliché self-referential performance, the answer naturally is yes and no. A woman sits in front of an empty bathtub silent with delirium resignation gradually consumes her body. In this state of submission what else is she waiting for?

* produced in cooperation with WIFI Body 4, National Commission for Culture and the Arts and The Living Room


Promises are made to be broken
a research in performance project
Mia Cabalfin / Lena Cobangbang / Diego Maranan / Donna Miranda / Angelo V. Suarez 

"We become humans when we get caught into a cloud, self-propelling loop of repeating the same gesture and finding satisfaction in it."  -- Slavoj Zizek, Parallax View

The snobbish tone of a roundtable discussion belies the possibility of taking something much seriously than how it already appears to be because surely there is nothing as tedious than witnessing steadfast attempts of repeating patterns to the point of their own exhaustion. Useless almost, yet still inexplicably appealing. It must be the near impossibility of a mindful act that compels the viewer to take an even closer look with full attention, eyes caught in each minute shift of details and little transparent surprises embedded in the ordinary. Unlike the action-packed jab of live performances, this recent taking takes a rather different tenor. Gripped by simplicity but bound by complexity. Often times, research oriented collaborative endeavors are expectedly frowned upon for its indulgent if not hardly accessible material. Tempting it may to say that every conceptual cliche must have been overused or repeatedly referenced, what else is there left to do but find pleasure in the accumulation of historical snippets? Or the instant gratification of entertainment afternoon specials? Or the nostalgia of retro and cool?

Perhaps it is plain stubbornness to insist on the promise of promises. As well as hope in a twisted idealized sense of utopia. Just as we thought we knew which way to go, The Lovegangsters again takes the necessary detour towards speculating on the productive conditions of a performance in Promises are Made to Be Broken. Prioritizing the communicative slant of performance and negotiating an open space for dialogue, interactivity and collaboration. Not because critical reflexivity is the new black, which is another overly used concept by now, but because the new black is the new black. Will they succeed or fail? Only you can decide of course. So while, this may not sound as your typical performance party allow us to prove you otherwise. Only if you promise to suspend bias and knee-jerk reactions towards the ordinary. Lastly, because life is a positively charged flux and unpredictability we have gathered a rather unorthodox mix of conspirators for this love crime with Mia Cabalfin, Lena Cobangbang, Diego Maranan, Donna Miranda, Angelo Suarez and Roman Cruz.