Assembly Hall: Motion to Dissolve

publicity photo for Assembly Hall, Kidd Pivot

Renée Sigouin in Assembly Hall (photo©Michael Slobodian)

Gosh. So many great things.

Assembly Hall, the latest creation from choreographer Crystal Pite and playwright Jonathon Young, is so narratively eccentric it will resonant in different ways for every person who sees it. Let me tell you a bit about what it meant to me.

First, the container. In the set-up, we realize we’re watching the annual general meeting of a medieval re-enactment society, the General Assembly of the Benevolent and Protective Order. The society has fallen on hard times — rising costs, dwindling membership — and they’re going to vote on whether to dissolve the organization. They’ve tried it before and have always ended up tabling the motion.

But we’re not in a literal reality. Like other works from Pite and Young, this is a dance/theatre hybrid. So the eight characters’ voices are recorded and, when we hear that speech, the onstage performers, the dancers, don’t just lip sync the words, they embody them with exaggerated postures and flamboyant gestures. The effect is simultaneously operatic and camp.

The text isn’t mundane either, although it’s concerned with mundanity. When the chair of the society asks if they have quorum, the vice chair notes that every member contains three, including one who leads and one who comes after. She says something like, “In the one, there is a multitude. And, in the multitude, there is one.” So they have quorum. [Read more…]

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