A few more reviews are coming in of the various BathHouse readings this semester. Below, Dan Turvey reviews Julie Patton’s reading:
I will admit that I was unable to stay for the entirety of Julie’s performance but from the forty-five minutes or so that I was able to attend I was washed in sight and sound. At first I was rather taken aback by what seemed like a lack of organization on Julie’s part. Her materials were in disarray and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to her selection of pieces being read. The guitarist in the background was playing notes that at times seemed to compliment the pieces sound and voice and at others felt as thought they disagreed. I liked the ebb and flow between the two; it added a very well planned third dimension.
As Julie continued with her performance she did another unusual thing. She assumed the fetal potion on stage, hid behind her basket and continued with reading her pieces. At this point she began to more actively engage the audience. I felt myself starting to become part of the performance rather than just an outside observer. The haphazard selection of the pieces being read then became clear. It was not about performing in a linear fashion but rather smashing linear conventions and letting the sounds work their magic.
In my opinion the reason she performed in the fetal position was to minimize her physical impact on the stage and let the sound of her words become the star of the show. I found it rather distracting to continue to try and focus on Julie while she crouched on the stage so I closed my eyes and let the sounds run free. This is where the success of her performance lies. For me she brought to light the power of word selection and the impact of such on the reader or listener. I no longer take for granted the sounds of the words that I write but rather I try to incorporate them into my work.
Overall, I enjoyed the performance and would suggest that anyone who is serious about experiencing the impact that sounds can have on ones own work to attend a Julie Patton reading.