WEEKEND: Unique performance promises to reverberate
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Choreographer Yukio Suzuki, left, and dancer Nao Ashamine rehearse “Reverberations” in the Fort Worden Battery. The free multimedia production takes place Saturday and Sunday.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The inaugural Reverberations festival promises to provide a combination of art, music and performance in a once-in-a-lifetime setting this weekend.

Centrum is hosting the premiere of a self-guided multimedia performance taking place in Battery Randol, an old bunker/coastal artillery emplacement that has turned into a tourist attraction and hiking destination at Fort Worden State Park.

Called “55: Music and Dance in Concrete,” the presentation combines 55 short musical pieces that were recorded in the bunker's rooms and the Dan Harpole Cistern, a chamber that has a 45-second reverberation time, by composer Wayne Horvitz.

The music will be accompanied by video projections inside the bunker from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

A dance troupe will perform there at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Each performance will last about 30 minutes inside the bunker and on top of the gun emplacement platforms.

Admission is free. No Discover Pass is required to park.

Complimentary passes

Instead, complimentary parking passes will be provided at the gate next to Copper Canyon Press during exhibit hours.

Battery Randol is a 10-minute walk from the gate; limited shuttle service is available for mobility-impaired patrons.

The piece grew out of a collaboration between Horvitz and Japanese choreographer Yukio Suzuki, whose dance troupe will perform.

Horvitz, who has lived in Seattle since 1988 and has visited Port Townsend regularly, always wanted to use the bunkers as a setting, and his partnership with Suzuki allowed that idea to develop.

The presentation was funded both privately and through the Arizona State University Art Museum, where it will be presented following its premiere in Port Townsend.

While the content will be the same, the setting will give the audience a different experience, Horvitz said.

“It will be in a different space at ASU, not like here where you have all those weird bits of decay,” he said.

“Here, there will only be room for 25 or 30 people to see the performance at a time, although when the dancers aren't performing, you can wander through and spend as much or as little time as you want, since the score is 90 minutes long,” Horvitz added.

“I think a lot of people will come over from Seattle and other places to see the dance performance while some people will be up there hiking and not know there is something going on, and they'll stop and watch.”

There also is expected to be an overflow audience from the three-day Port Townsend Film Festival, which begins today.

Simultaneous with film festival

Centrum deliberately timed the events to be simultaneous with the film festival so attendees of one could enjoy the other.

Horvitz, 57, who was born in New York and lives in Seattle, has worked in a variety of styles: classical, jazz, avant-garde and “noise,” among others.

“I don't have a message; I just like to make stuff,” he said.

“I don't know about Beethoven, but I'm sure that John Coltrane wasn't concerned with what you thought the message was.

“There is a dirty little secret in the arts: that we are all in it for ourselves, and we make stuff that we can enjoy.”

The performance represents the future of this unconventional space, Centrum Executive Director John MacElwee said.

He hopes to support these types of projects and presentations on a more regular basis.

The future, or “afterlife,” of this piece is also uncertain, Horvitz said.

“Once the performances here and in Arizona are over, it's finished, but I will take some time to see if the piece has legs,” he said.

“I may do a record of the score or a DVD about what went into the piece, but there will be no performance DVD.”

So what occurs this weekend will not ever be seen again in this form.

For more information, visit www.centrum.org/reverberations.

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 20. 2012 5:22PM
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