The show uses, as its starting point, the piece Reunion (1968), where composer John Cage played chess with artist Marcel Duchamp and Duchamp’s wife, Teeny, in front of a live audience in Toronto; the chessboard wired for sound. Dragging on into the early hours of the morning the event was abandoned: the audience had dwindled to nothing, the one bottle of wine that was provided had been drunk and Marcel Duchamp had fallen asleep.
John Cage and Teeny Duchamp Play Chess in front of a Live Audience incorporates drama, music, sound art, film, opera, visual art and screwball comedy; part theatre, part performance art it can be variously misinterpreted as a nostalgic re-appropriation of the traditional avant-garde or a subversive commentary on today’s contemporary arts.
A totally committed performance that is surreal, sexy, sinister, startling, stimulating and even fun – ‘Mr Cage’, Austin Sherlaw-Johnson, and ‘Mrs Duchamp’, Stav Kounadea, create a world where the abnormal is normal and you never know what’ll happen next. Chess will never seem the same again.
Colin May, Music writer (Nightshift, Oxford Times)
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O3 Gallery, Oxford (2015)
Fringe Arts Bath (2014)