On Stage: An Invitation to Diespace

I’m always glad to see dance play a prominent role in the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s festivals and the Dutch Festival is no exception with Dance Works Rotterdam /Andre Gingras starting things off and the Jiri Kylian/Michael Schumacher Last Touch First coming up. (BTW: improv great Michael Schumacher is doing a workshop for professionals in the Benedum studio on Sat. Apr. 7 at 1 p.m., another terrific opportunity.)

But I digress, my point being that I also love to sample the other artistic offerings. Thursday I got a chance to see PIPS:lab in Diespace. We all think it would be great to live forever and this multimedia company offers a 60-minute oddball solution to that. (Think a human version of iCloud.) But these tech wizards go far beyond that by placing every member of the audience up on their computerized screens.

It’s a virtuoso performance (even if I didn’t quite understand how they did it) with a casual flair.

Just be ready to have fun and interact. Yes, there will be a few “volunteers,” but everyone will get to participate. Yes, they talk about the fearsome subject of death. But it doesn’t rear its ugly head. On the contrary — the audience itself creates its own light-inspired cemetery on the screen, which turns into a remarkable revolving matrix. We laugh with them and with ourselves.

Some of us even get gifts, laced with a certain gallows humor.

It all treads a fine line, although I have the sense that this might be where alternative theater (and possibly dance) could be headed, with the impact coming ¬†from several sources. First, those great computer-generated effects. Second, the human element — a cast of five male/females, all who experience some form of a bad hair day, and nimbly guide their subjects through an outrageously original theatrical experience. Third — well it’s all up to you…

For more info, click on Dutch.

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