Over four nights in Toronto, The Blackwood presents the Canadian premiere of Faye Driscoll’s major new performance. Weathering is a multi-sensory performance, conceived by Driscoll as a moving human sculpture made of bodies, sounds, scents, liquids, and objects. Ten performers perpetually enact a morphing “tableau vivant” on a mobile raft-like stage. Their life raft surges and spins through crisis and alienation, with their voices generating a score that crescendos and resonates as they clutch, careen, and cleave on a platform too small to contain them. The audience embanks the performers, close enough to smell the sweat and feel the steam of the scenes unfolding before them. Weathering enacts conflict, eroticism, and care arising from a messy and mutable collectivity.
Driscoll’s powerful work is a breathing, leaking choreography composed of micro-events and grander gestures. Weathering grapples with the Anthropocene – the geologic toll of environmental destruction resulting from human activity on the Earth – while considering its effects on individual bodies and their interdependencies. It explores the unstable boundaries between grief, anger, emergency, and eroticism. Driscoll and her collaborators ask: How do we feel the impact of events moving through us which are so much larger – yet are animating and activating our bodies all the time? How do we get closer to the impact? Can we slow down enough to feel the dust, hurt, absence, and plume?
In Weathering, the well-trod norms and critiques of Anthropocene discourse are elided in a performance that considers the effects of climate change on us individually and collectively at a bodily scale. It reflects the forms of alienation – environmental, social, and economic – many of us feel. It demands slowness and elicits undivided attention, at a time when media saturation and ubiquity have transformed human attention into an economy. It calls on viewers to pay attention using all of their faculties – as a multisensory experience, Weathering foregrounds the necessity for deeper attunement to the many ways we inhabit the Earth.