Dreaming Out Loud Again

San Francisco Press Release

Mary Armentrout and Merlin Coleman are at it once again. Known for their genre-bending, gender role-breaking dance and theater works, Armentrout and Coleman present the fruits of their recent forays into the collective unconscious, the battle of the sexes, and the troubled American political psyche of the moment. Along with special guest artist Maxine Moerman, these long-term collaborators team up to create an evening of new performance work that crosses boundaries and mixes media to create provocative new ways to describe contemporary experience.
Merlin presents three dramatic and poetic solos where words are shamelessly tasted as they float by, and the painful deliciousness of inside out meaning is explored. Who can answer the many questions of the PRECOCIOUS CHILD, or keep from shedding tears during the tale of THE SAD STAR AND THE SICK LITTLE FOG or recognize who is who in this interpretation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. All in a world where the sound of words takes precedence and questionable language usage is the norm, where emotions routinely break the rules.
THE NEW WORLD is Mary Armentrout's newest multi-disciplinary dance theater piece. In a dream collage installation that collides dance, theater, video projections and an ambient sound score, six performers deconstruct everyday activities in ways that probe the usefulness of history, the limits of politics, the fluidity of gender roles, and the difficulty of love. THE NEW WORLD is a surreal meditation on the slipperiness of human connections and the difficulty of using history to reach a deeper understanding of the human condition. Two eighteenth century women - ghosts, figments of the imagination, historical figures - try to understand the human condition, as they wander through a world that looks suspiciously like a skewed version of our own.

Their suspended journey, caught outside of time, offers us insights, unpleasant truths, humor, and moments of unexpected transcendence.

Armentrout has been creating dance theater installations in the Bay Area for the last 10 years. She creates work for both conventional and site-specific venues. The Mary Armentrout Dance Theater has been seen at The LAB, Dance Mission and 848 Community Space, and in performance installations at Ft. Funston State Park, The Luggage Store Annex and Dadafest as well as in New York, Washington D.C., Berlin, and Paris. Her work has also been seen on the San Francisco TV program "House of Dance" and on the WB20 Ten O'clock News.


Dreaming Out Loud Again

NYC - Press Release

Join San Francisco performers Mary Armentrout and Merlin Coleman and enter into a world where the sound of words takes precedence and questionable language usage is the norm, where emotions routinely break the rules in a blend of movement, stillness, sound and object manipulation. Collective Unconscious presents DREAMING OUT LOUD AGAIN, an evening of performance works with stories of newly spliced realities, rearranged and false histories and dissected dances.

Through their particularly quirky worlds of the collective unconscious, Armentrout and Coleman create an evening of performance work that crosses boundaries and mixes media to create provocative new ways to describe contemporary as well as timeless experiences. Known for her unique and varied roles as San Francisco area composer/performer, MERLIN COLEMAN will perform her dramatic and poetic solo interpretation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Combining voice, theater and movement with an original soundtrack, Coleman morphs between Beauty, the Beast and the storyteller. Using twisted beastly voices, glass chimes and melodic cello lines, Coleman engages the audience in the rearrangement of this classic fairytale, exploring the painful deliciousness of inside-out meaning paired with the archetypal symbols of romantic love.


Revealing the fluctuating subjectivity behind our most day to day utterances, MARY ARMENTROUT draws the audience to experience everyday concerns in a distinctive new way. Revealing four small snapshots from her larger body of work in hybrid dance-theater art, Armentrout blends movement, stillness, sounds and objects into deceptively simple images. "Each Night" is a surreal puzzle dream that seems, in the end, to make perfect sense. "Why Do Love Songs Always Feel Like Car Crashes" is a bittersweet solo exploring the contradictory nature of love. "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life" is a wry look at the dysfunction and disconnects in everyday life. "A Leads to B" is a journey from here to somewhere else using a bucket of water, a pair of scissors, and a dress.

Made up of a confederation of artists specializing in visual and performing arts and founded in 1995, Collective Unconscious administers to the artistic community with a theater, rehearsal, and performance space. As a supporter of original works and experimental theater, this organization has hosted several festivals, including the New York Fringe Festival, the Downtown Arts Festival, and the New York Lower East Side Film Festival.



MERLIN COLEMAN is a San Francisco-based composer, writer, performer and recording artist. She creates original interdisciplinary works incorporating a mixture of recorded and live sound, text, movement, props and film, as well as working collaboratively with other artists. Coleman received an MFA in composition with an emphasis on interdisciplinary arts from California Institute of the Arts in 1997. Along with a performance background in western Classical voice, experimental vocal techniques focussed on the use of text and language, Indonesian Gamelan, North Indian classical music and cello, Coleman has studied numerous theater and movement techniques such as modern dance, aikido and improvisational theater.

Coleman has developed a unique style in her writing of text, which she presents in various settings using a surreal and theatrical interplay of image rich language and sound. In her work, language is presented primarily in a non-linear manner, in live performance and soundscapes and combinations thereof.

She is currently working on FERN, a Sonic theater work which she presented at the 2002 San Francisco Fringe Festival and will expand and present in New York at Engine 27 where she was recently awarded a residency. It will be presented in 2003/2004 as a 16 channel Sound Installation in Engine 271's Gallery. She has also been composing a series of songs for cello (performed simultaneously) under the title “Festival of Stillness” in a mix of styles and genres accompanied by guest artist musicians. Coleman co-curates an artist salon series in Berkeley California and teaches voice privately. She performs regularly in the San Francisco bay area and has also presented her works in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Japan and New York. MARY ARMENTROUT
Known for her experiments on the edge of hybrid dance-theater fusion, Mary Armentrout is a choreographer whose work lives at the intersection of dance, theater, and object art. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1985, concentrating particularly on dance and philosophy. She has since been creating conventional and site-specific dance-theater installations, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also stretching from New York and Washington D.C., to Paris and Berlin. The

Mary Armentrout Dance Theater has been seen at numerous venues in the Bay Area, including The LAB, Dance Mission, Dancers' Group Studio Theater, The Works/San Jose and 848 Community Space as well as Ft. Funston State Park, The Luggage Store Annex, Dadafest and the SFFringe Festival. Armentrout’s work has also been presented in Venue 9’s “Women’s Work Festival”, Fellow Travelers’ “Women on the Edge” Series, and the Retail Dance Festival. Her work has been featured on the San Francisco TV program "House of Dance" and the WB20 Ten O'clock News and has received support from the Zellerbach Family Fund and the Cash Grant program. “Blue Sofa” and "The New World" were both created and premiered during residencies at The LAB in San Francisco, and Armentrout looks forward to a residency at Djerassi in 2004. She also teaches dance at Danspace in Oakland, maintains a private bodywork practice, and is active on the boards of several dance organizations in the Bay Area.

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