Grounded Autonomy; More Than Just Eye Candy

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Auto-Biographical pieces can be tough.  Will the audience be as invested in your story as you are, even though they haven't live through it?  Sean Green took that challenge head on and succeeded.  He, along with his aerialists Maria Artim, Katherine Petronaci and Garrett Olthuis, worked together to produce Grounded Autonomy for this years Fringe Fest. You may remember Sean / Garret from a previous PhillyGayCalendar piece in which they teased the concept for their work. In short, Sean and Garret fell for each other hard and fast, dated for a while, but ultimately broke up.  Their relationship fueled this piece of art.

While aerial performance was a bulk of the piece, there were some gorgeous floor routines that broke up the flying, I wish I could have seen more of the floor work but the seating wasn't very conducive to it.  Fortunately a majority of the performance took place on a variety of apparatus' hung from the ceiling so sight lines weren't much of an issue.  

The stage itself was decorated minimally which fit the piece well and forced focus onto the performers feats of insane strength.  What made the piece special to me was the ingenuity, I saw pieces of equipment that must have been custom made for the piece.  While not mentioned, I enjoyed that photography was permitted, in an age where capture digitally to remember mentally, my boyfriend and I had a blast at the bar later comparing various angles / pictures we were able to take. 

Did the story line hold through? Sort of, I struggled to decide whether the female dancers represented other boyfriends of Sean and Garret, or represented gal pals of the boys.  The venue was hot (literally, warm) but #Fringe what can you do about that.  My only other critique is the length of the show.  I'm more of a skip the intermission and let's keep it under 90 minutes, but I guess even amazing dancers need a second to catch their breath. 

I look forward to more work from Sean and his crew, I can only hope they'll put on a show at either Spring Fringe or next year at Fall Fringe! I hope they keep the minimlism, and shirt-less-ness.I also hope they continue to play with symbolism, because my curious brain loved to dissect the intricacies! 

[Main Photo by Garrett Matthews]



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