Stuart Shugg




Open House (Work-in-progress)

Choreography and Performance: Anna Kroll and Stuart Shugg
Music: Beach Boys


Bennington College, Vermont, 2017


Open House is a collaboration between Anna Kroll and Stuart Shugg developed from thrice weekly experiments working with video, projection, lighting and found objects.


Some things other people have told us the piece is about: imaginary spaces, luxury/debt, commenting on the act of performance, the 1%, the sadness that comes with humor.


The piece: We perform some movement that you might see at early Judson Church in relation to a video you would use to sell a house. The music switches to something you might hear at a European discotheque and we do the same movement but facing the audience. The lights switch to blue. The video continues as we do movement that maybe is like Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker & Boris Charmatz's Partita 2 if it were faster and less careful. Kind of like a dance someone would make about planets orbiting. Basically Anna runs in circles a lot and we pay attention to each other. Sometimes there is a grand gesture. The video finishes and Anna lays down, posed like a reclining nude painting, but she isn't nude and she's in front of the projection screen.


Stuart brings out a box fan, banging the electrical cord like it's been tangled in a huge knot. We alternate between bringing in objects like stagehands and laying down on the floor like someone who is trying to be an object.


The objects: fake plant glued to a stool, small carpet, roll of packing polyethylene, styrofoam packing blocks. You might find these while someone is packing or unmoving. You might find them in a piece about surrealism and artifice.


The fan blows the bag across the stage. The fan makes Anna's shirt flutter. The blocks precariously balance on top of the rolled up carpet. The electrical cord is wrapped around the objects, toppling them over and pulling the plant. The plant slowly spins across stage. This might remind you of a Rube Goldberg machine but it is not sequential and it has no functional outcome. Like a broken Rube Goldberg machine.


Stuart wraps the electrical cord around his body, the other end still attached to the plant glued to a stool. We exit the stage in a slow unison duet, the plant lurching behind us. In the next version we want to give the plant a spotlight.