"...remarkable…the images and emotions evoked...will remain seared in my memory, and, no doubt, in the memories of others who saw it...masterful and effective...a tour de force…” - Susan Broili of THE HERALD SUN
“John” is a new 1-hour solo by Tommy Noonan, based in part on “The Illustrated Biography of John Travolta”, as well as on figures such as TV audience warmup-artist Jay Flats, motivational speaker Tony Robbins and other various televangelists, late-night infomercial personalities, talking heads, entertainers and politicians. The performance, which utilizes a combination of text, dance and video on a minimal stage space, lays bare the bond between audience and performer. Noonan crafts an ambiguous bargain with his spectators, who are trained to play their ‘role’ as an audience in an unsettling yet familiar relationship with the figure in front of them. Rather than representing either a true or a false guru, “John” explores the complex relationship between superficiality and depth, belief, cult of personality, race, gender and the performance of public figures, as well as our relationships both towards them and towards ourselves in America today.
Concept, creation, performance, lighting, stage, video and sound design: Tommy Noonan
Text Montage: Tommy Noonan (from “John Travolta: An Illustrated Biography” by Suzanne Munshower, “Whitney Houston Live”, “Interview with Jack Ma”, “Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh, “Boyhood” by Richard Linklater, “Donald Trump Rally in Charlotte, NC: August, 2016”, “John Travolta on ‘Enough Rope with Andrew Denton’”).
Music and Sound Montage: Tommy Noonan (from “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole, “You Should be Dancing” by The BeeGees, “Stayin’ Alive Remix” by DJ Dash, “Nelly vs. BeeGees Mashup” by Lobsterdust, “Stayin’ Alive Remix” by K Theory and TYR, “The Perfect Human” (1967 film) by Jorgen Leth).
A production of Culture Mill
Premiere: 15 October, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina.
19th and 20th June, 2017: American Dance Festival, Durham, North Carolina.
Photos by Tim Walter