Full Immersion

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Patrick Mueller of Control Group Productions isn’t exaggerating when he calls the movement and performance group’s new work, Salon Romantik, Opus 2, a “sprawl.” Not quite dance or simply performance art, the work encompasses a collaborative carnival of scenes and pieces and sequences that demand audience participation on various delightful and/or scary levels. “This didn’t develop in our standard Control Group process, where I am the director and primary visionary,” Mueller explains. “We extended invitations to twenty artists, and about a dozen of them have been meeting monthly since September. And for the most part, each performer created their own pieces.”

Part Romantic Age soiree — with parlor games, poetry readings, cocktails and hors d’oeuvre — and part carefully crafted installation, this production even required specially designed seating to suit the actions. “It’s sort of topographic, with seating adjusted to mountains and valleys,” Mueller continues. “It’s our way of discouraging the audience from camping out on one seat from which to view the evening passively. We want to pull the wallflowers off the walls and get them waltzing with us, engaging in all manner of games.”

Costumers, architects, designers, sound designers and performers have all come together on common ground to create the setting — but what happens when an audience enters the mix can’t be predicted. “This is not heaven and it’s not hell,” Mueller concludes. “It’s a bunch of individual insanities layered on top of each other like gel screens. This is about plethora.”

If you’re game for full immersion, Salon Romantik, Opus 2 opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight at work | space, 2701 Lawrence Street, in the Laundry on Lawrence; performances continue through February 2. Admission is $17 in advance at salon2.bpt.me or $20 at the door; the price includes handmade chocolates, tea and wine. Visit www.controlgroupproductions.org for more information.
Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30-11 p.m. Starts: Jan. 25. Continues through Feb. 2, 2013

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