Tstmrkt Mixes It Up at PACA

Categories:  Events    Theater
Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at 11:30 AM
Tstmrkt Mixes It Up at PACA by Matt Swanseger

Friday, Dec. 16

It’s fitting that the performance art collective Tstmrkt staged their first act in a junkyard. After all, what is the world these days but a proverbial scrap heap, fleeting images and sounds steam-shoveled into our conscious and subconscious minds?

Tstmrkt combines film footage, audio collage, theatrics, and sketch comedy into a postmodern pastiche as likely to bemuse as amuse.

Tstmrkt combines film footage, audio collage, theatrics, and sketch comedy into a postmodern pastiche as likely to bemuse as amuse. The performers utilize no props whatsoever, listening for prerecorded audio cues and reacting accordingly. Projector screens set the scenes to real-life scenarios that almost inevitably take a turn for the absurd. For instance, in the opening sketch of their latest show (DVDA Pt. I & II), an automated scanner gives a man trouble checking out his items (normal) before revealing that what it really wants is to check out his “items” (not normal). The female clerk behaves as if this is a routine procedure and he is inconveniencing the other customers by not complying.

Is this example just oddity for the sake of oddity, or is it a more incisive commentary on sexism and gender roles? “Whether or not this is pure entertainment or if this has any deeper relevance to society as a whole is a hard question to ask about any artwork,” said Tstmrkt co-founder Ernest Hemmings in a video interview with the late Kurt Sahlmann. “Anything could be viewed as pure entertainment. I guess it depends on the viewer, on who is absorbing the content.”

Hemmings will be joined on stage by fellow actors Maythinee Washington and Brandon McClennahan. Erie will be among the last markets to be tested on this tour, as the ensemble returns to PACA for a two-show, pre-holiday bizarre. Expect to be entertained in unexpected (and provocative) ways. – Matt Swanseger

8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16; 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17 // 1505 State St. // paca1505.com // $10

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