Evolution: Body, Mind, Spirit
OCTOBER 31, 2000
DESIGNED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY ALEX KAHN
As the year 2001 approached, The Village Halloween Parade undertook a Space Odyssey of its own, drawing timely inspiration from the sci-fi canon, and tracing the footprints of humankind's evolution. Not evolution of the slow, infinitesimal variety, but the evolution that comes in sudden epoch-shattering jolts - monolithic landmarks in our progress from body, to mind, to spirit.
The Dancing Primates set the prehistoric rhythm for the Procession, embodying mankind as a pure physical being, yet on the cusp of his first technological epiphany - the pivotal transition from body to mind. Eight 11'-tall effigies of primitive man (each operated by three puppeteers) led the way grasping at a giant bone which twirled elusively 25' overhead. At other moments the ape-men embraced the crowd, reaching out with fully opposable fingers, and cantilevered backs designed to let them bend far over the barricades to gaze at their progeny through glowing red eyes.
Fast forward through the millenia, though the leap from the earthbound to the starbound, from ape-men to spacemen. Mankind the maker, the technician, has reached his apogee. Body has ceded its last territory to mind. Prosthesis usurps flesh and bone, microchip supplants brain. Next in the procession, heralding this transition, came the Pod Mothers.
With molded plastic skin, and blinking luminescent circuitry, the 14'-tall egg-shaped spacecraft looked far from human; yet when their retractable robotic arms moved gently in front the protruding red window, the Pods became for a moment, unmistakablely maternal. But who was the strange child incubating within? It appeared alien, but perhaps our now-familiar image of the tabloid extraterrestrial is simply a projection of our future selves, the chosen icon of our evolution yet to come. The strange passenger would soon tell us itself - for as the Procession abruptly halted and amniotic smoke poured from the now-glowing Pods, the Child began to emerge.
Suddenly the ape-men had fallen back, leaving their wild revels to form a somber circle around the Pod Mother. The Pods now turned to face the crowd on either side, and slowly their domed tops began to rise. Inside, the Starchild stirred, waving its slender arms through its red window. Then it, too, rose slowly upwards and out of the Pod, its eyes glowing blue-green and its legs, like a yogin's, folded serenely underneath its frail infant body. The Starchild heralds the moment physical struggles and technological mastery give way to a reality bound only by dreams.
ASSOCIATE DESIGNER: Sophia Michahelles
BUILDERS, TECHNICIANS, MARSHALLS: Moira Sauer, Jason Miranda, Kevin Taylor, Steffen Hyder
BONEMOBILE DESIGN: Reid Beilenberg
PERFORMERS AND TECHNICIANS: Students from Bard College Theatre Department, under direction of Shelly Wyant
MUSIC COMPOSED AND PERFORMED BY: The Repeatos