Arts and Culture

Tara Rynders and The Clinic Prescribe Psychic TLC for Trying Times

A site-specific beginning kicks off The Clinic with Tara Rynders and friends.
A site-specific beginning kicks off The Clinic with Tara Rynders and friends. Adam Bove
Tara Rynders leads a double life as a registered nurse and a dancer, but the opposing disciplines are more alike than you’d think, at least in Rynders’s creative universe. That’s an underlying impetus behind The Clinic, an interactive, site-specific multi-arts experience designed to bring people together in a time of global strife and political insecurity.

The Clinic’s performative healing balm is similar to that of its predecessor, You & Me, a Rynders creation at which participants moved between one-on-one experiences at stations manned by artists in a spectrum of disciplines. Like You & Me, The Clinic will begin with an outdoor performance and end with a community dinner, but what happens in between will be more attuned to the art of healing.
“The main purpose is to create a space where we spend time with one another in a different way doing something we would not normally do,” Rynders explains, adding that instead of taking a singular path, passing alone through a series of random meetings, people “will be paired up with another guest — or patient — and go through the performances together, like the blind leading the blind. It’s simple in the sense that it leaves space for a lot of layers to arise: You choose your own adventure, sharing a night with humanity — with another human.”
click to enlarge KATE ROLSTON
Kate Rolston
The evening’s structure will, in a jokey way, function like a real visit to a health clinic. But, Rynders says, “This is not a clinic anyone’s ever been to before. You’ll get a packet, do a self-assessment and put on a gown and hat,” she promises. “Then you’ll sit down, one by one, have an interview, go over the paperwork and go over your diagnosis. You’ll get a prescription.

“But the healing is not necessarily in the pills,” she continues. “It’s in our ability to share with one another, to be intimate and experience something together. In that way, it’s related to You & Me, only this time you’re doing it with a partner; you’re going through a roller coaster ride, and you get to share it with somebody you might know or might not know. There’s so much going on in the world now that shows the bad side of humanity, so The Clinic is highlighting the beauty in all of us, no matter what’s happening. And it’s not about ignoring the bad stuff — it’s about finding a better way to live through it together.”

The upshot, Rynders hopes, will be as transformative and playful for the facilitators as it is for their audience. “This is my political statement — my march,” she says. “The way things are now, I think of it as a time to be as generous and open and kind as we can with one other. At The Clinic, people can help each other to see themselves in new ways.”

The Clinic opens for business from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 21, with additional performances at the same time on April 22, 28 and 29. There will also be one “pediatric-friendly” all-ages clinic at 9 a.m. April 30, ending with a pancake brunch. The donation-based admission price ranges from $30 to $150; reserve a space and receive location information online.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd