Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Incidents at the Two Two Hotel

The Ife Heads (Surabhi Kukke and Annelize Machado)

Incidents at the Two Two Hotel: a science fiction experience, a future world where inhabitants live in a hotel called the Two Two that consists of two sky-high towers built on an artificial, floating island made up of the plastic detritus of centuries. Movement in this landless future is most strongly determined by language proficiency. Inhabitants may access as many floors of the hotel as the languages they speak. There is also shadowlandic, a phonic and hybrid language spoken by the hotel porters. This is a post-post-apocalyptic world: land masses have gone under, there is no firm ground, no dirt or sand to speak of—except in the outlier colonies where piracy is rampant (there is a profitable trade in sand).

The audience is seated on the island.

Movement happens on the island and in the sea around them.

At Co-Lab space in Austin, performers worked with a ten-minute excerpt of the script which tells the story of The Porter whose Brother is traveling to meet him from the outlier colonies. The Brother imagines a new and glamorous life at the Two Two, while The Porter longs for the sand his brother will carry with him. Ife Heads who are at once marketwomen and statues know the future and the past and serve as witnesses to this journey. They also sound the death cry when the Brother’s body washes up at the hotel lobby/beach. The Tourist, who speaks poor French, catches the first glimpse of the body.

(THE BROTHER has been slowly circling the island, he becomes entangled in the sand bags. A dance of the floating IFE HEADS and THE BROTHER as he meets his death at sea.)


(through the lens of her camera)

Faites vous le voyez?


To see. Not what it used to be.


Un cadavre. Cette horrible!


(looking through the lens)

Cette une tragedie.


I feel horrible.


Mais porquoi? This is not your tragedie.


IFE HEADS (Surabhi Kukke and Annelize Machado) are a combination of marketwomen and statues. They wear bathing suits under long flowing dresses that carry the striations of the IFE HEADS. Their faces are painted with these striations as well, in neon pink and gold. They speak in high, long tones.

THE PORTER (Azure D. Osborne-Lee) works in the lobby of the Two Two Hotel, comes from a family of porters, speaks shadowlandic. Is trickster, Elegua, crazy, sane, manic. Charming. A hustler. His speech is disjunctive and shadowy; he speaks in rhymes and broken sentences.

THE BROTHER (Matt Richardson) is THE PORTER’s brother. He is journeying to join him from the outlier islands via boat. He is queer and fabulous and in search of his own freedom which he believes he will find at the Two Two Hotel. He leaves his mother to join his brother. He journeys with bags of sand, as sand doesn’t exist on the island of the Two Two Hotel. He dies during the play which is indicated by a change in speech—he begins to speak as if he is bobbing in the sea, between breaths. He also comes back to life.

Visual notes: THE BROTHER carries/drags spray-painted gold bags of sand (with striations).

THE TOURIST (Gwendolyn Ferreti) is from what once was Africa. She claims to be from Dakar. She has managed to slip into the French-speaking floor of the hotel, though her French is poor. She is concerned with living a glamorous life. She photographs, films her experiences in the lobby to have proof, evidence. She has sex with THE PORTER, she thinks she loves him.

Surabhi Kukke, Annelize Machado, Gwendolyn Ferreti, Azure D. Osborne-Lee, Matt Richardson, Wura-Natasha Ogunji

Many Thanks to Sean Gaulager at Co-Lab, Ana-Maurine Lara (Dramaturg) and Nicole Vlado.