Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series: Wintry Mix

On Friday January 27, the Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series presented the first of two unique Wintry Mix shows. Wintry Mix is a performance festival of theater, dance, video, and music. The concept behind the design is to allow multiple artists to showcase their work across genres and traditional boundaries. The Friday lineup consisted Chelsea and Magda (everybodygetinthecar.com), David Brick (headlong.org), Jenna Horton (jennahorton.com), Sam Tower (samtower-ensemble.org), Peter Rose (peterrosepicture.com/), Chlamydia Dell-Arte, and closed with a set by Japanese Breakfast (michellezauner.bandcamp.com).
Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series has put on this performance festival style show for the past couple years, but this was actually my first time attending one. I like that it is held in the Hepburn Teaching Theater. Although it is a smaller space, there is more room for creative theatrical setup —  most of which come from the innovative minds of Justin McDaniel and Amy Radbill, Bryn Mawr’s resident technical theater experts.

The show opened with Jenna Horton’s character MC, Dale. She was a goofy environmental biologist / scavenger who introduced each act. She did a good job hyping the crowd and cracking some jokes. Next was a theater piece by Sam Tower featuring two women. I did not really understand this act. The women interacted with each other and their environment as if they had a dark secret they were hiding, but acting as if everything was ok. The piece did successfully incorporate music, dance, and acting. The third act was a dance/theater piece by David Brick and his mother, who is deaf. The backdrop of the interpretive dance was an excerpt from a documentary featuring his mother in college for the deaf. I thought this piece was very personal and emotional. I do not understand sign language, but I could pick up from their movements that David and his mother were close and shared many memories and stories together.

The fourth act was the sex education burlesque duo called Chlamydia Dell-Arte. They were actually my favorite act, and I could not help but laugh and cheer along as they promoted consent, positive identity, and body acceptance through song and dance. The fifth act was a piece on shame in performance by Chelsea and Magda. It was similar to the previous act in that it also featured two women who danced with political intentions, but Chelsea and Magda took it a step further by contrasting their “shame” with “normal” versions of performance and pleasure. I admit I felt a bit uncomfortable when they took off their clothes, but it was refreshing to be exposed to such experimental, non-traditional art. After the fifth act, there was a brief intermission where the audience had a chance to eat snacks and view the Peter Rose film on screen in a different room. The closing act was a dance/music party to songs by the indie pop band Japanese Breakfast, fronted by Bryn Mawr 2011 alum Michelle Zauner. I had already seen Japanese Breakfast in concert last semester, but I always enjoy watching her perform and singing along to her songs I know. 

I recommend checking out Wintry Mix this weekend. Even if you’ve seen the Friday show, the Saturday show features a completely different lineup. The second Wintry Mix is Saturday January 28 at 8pm in Goodhart Hepburn Teaching Theater. Free for Tri-Co.

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