Dan Graham Withdrawal Syndrome:
A performance by Donelle Woolford
Thursday, October 15, 7:00 pm
619 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
212 594 9478
Sunday, November 8, 2:30 and 4:00pm
135 North Harvey Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
In honor of Beyond, Dan Graham’s survey exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art that closes on October 11, Donelle Woolford will present a one-night performance for anyone who might be experiencing Dan Graham “withdrawal.”
“Dan Graham Withdrawal Syndrome” will continue Donelle Woolford’s investigation into her identity and its mutability through multiple portrayals, or selves. The unveiling began at the opening reception for her current show at Wallspace, where two veteran actors, Jennifer Kidwell and Abigail Ramsay, gave distinct portrayals of Donelle Woolford while performing an improvisational pas de deux. Throughout the reception, each actor followed the other’s eye contact and body language as a series of gestures that determined when the actors should move apart, circle, or change places. The effect on visitors was by turns playful, disorienting, elegant, and jarring. In some instances, the Donelle Woolford you were talking to a second ago was replaced by a Donelle Woolford from across the room. These “long crosses,” designed to mark a dramatic shift from one scene to the next, allowed the actors to inscribe a certain tempo on the duration of the reception, all the while canceling any attempt to assign a fixed identity to Donelle Woolford.
For “Dan Graham Withdrawal Syndrome,” Kidwell and Ramsay will perform a kind of verbal pas de deux, employing the give and take of a dialogue — Donelle interviews Donelle! — to reflect on various aspects of Donelle’s life and work. As in “Long Crosses” — where the signals and gestures were predetermined but the actors’ interpretation of them was largely improvised — the dialogue that will comprise “Dan Graham Withdrawal Syndrome” will attempt to convey these spatial dramas and improvisations in verbal terms. It will be as if the words each actor speaks and hears are being filtered through some kind of sonic Dan Graham device.
Jennifer Kidwell is an actress and singer living in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a B.A. in Literature from Columbia University and has studied acting with teachers from Juilliard, Yale University, and The New School for Social Research. Recent roles have been a chorus member in "The Bacchae" (Joanne Akalaitis, Philip Glass, David Neumann) as part of The Public Theatre’s 2009 Shakespeare in the Park, as the character Blackgirl in “A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People” (Kevin B. Free) as part of the 2010 Fringe Festival New York, and continual participation in the clown troupe Logic Limited.
Abigail Ramsay works in the performing arts as an actor, director and administrator. She received her BA from Brown University and is a graduate of England's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, where she was active in the theatre and in BBC 4 radio plays. In 2009 she participated in the launch of Ruffled Feathers Theater Company, Brooklyn, and in “Shoot to Win” at the Cherry Lane Theatre. She lives in Brooklyn.