It is now a little more than a month since I complete a four-night run of “Off the Curtain” in Philadelphia as part of Philadelphia Fringe Festival. It has been two years since I had last performed “Off the Curtain” so naturally I was a little worried and nervous when I decided to revisit this project. Familiarizing myself with the already existing piece was not difficult, as I guess it had found its way into my subconscious after all the countless hours I had previously spent on it! One key addition, however, made this project a whole new piece that I needed to familiarize myself with. For a while I had been toying with the idea of adding music to my performance, I first decided to generate sound during the performance by using object such as a tambourine or a music box. The effect of these objects was positive I believe, but they never got me to the point where I felt completely satisfied. Therefore, I decided to add actual clips of music to my performance. Thanks to my very helpful and attentive partner, we were able to experiment and re-experiment with music during the four nights I was performing in Philadelphia. I think that initially we both got very excited and added too many music clips! After the first night of the performance I felt as if the music had overwhelmed the performance and, more importantly, as if by adding music, I was trying to dictate to the audience how they should feel and when they should feel it. We toned it down for the next three nights, limiting it to only five clips of few seconds each, and the result was quite desirable. I would still like to experiment with live music at some point, however, for now, I think the music we have chosen works very well with the piece.
Thank to Upenn and Princeton mailing lists, I was lucky enough to have couple of experts of Persian language and Iranian history show up for my performance. The feedbacks I received from them were priceless! I think the piece will go through few noticeable changes in the near future!
Having learned from the performance in Berlin, I had asked permission ahead of time to serve tea and cookies in the venue. Similar to the performance in berlin, the addition of food and drink worked like magic! It completely sat the mood for the performance and now I can hardly imagine ever performing this piece without tea and pastry being served.
Ironically enough, the only thing I would complain about was the “curtain” it self! I have always been satisfied, more than satisfied to be honest, with my vinyl banner. Now, however, I think it is time to move to a more professional banner. Ideally, I would like to get my hands on a hand painted banner sometime in the future but even for now, and with the current set of images that I have, perhaps a fabric banner could work better.