Bicycling: a love story?
Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to the bicycle as an object of beauty: it’s purely functional, designed to get us from here to there. Any elements of design likely came from the marketing department. Describing it as “poetry in motion” seems, at best, clichè.
Texas playwright Tammy Melody Gomez dared to go there, though, expressing her love for her bicycle (her sole means of transportation) not merely in a few words, but in a full-length work of art. Her play She: Bike/Spoke/Love is, according to the author, “a love story about bikes and the people who ride them.” That emotion gets expressed through a variety of means: not only through typical dialog one expects from a stage play, but also through “poetry… freestyle and choreographed bicycling, video sequences, and a turntablist.” In the midst of all of this performance is a story line about a young woman and (you guessed it) her love for her bicycle.
It sounds a bit like mayhem to me, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram reviewer Mark Lowry described the initial 2007 production as “extreme theater.” He called the story “moving,” though, and argued that Gomez successfully used the bicycle itself as a metaphor for “sex, growing up, finding balance and participating in life’s race.”
It’s outsider theater, no doubt, which probably explains why it hasn’t been produced again since 2007: your typical theater audience is relatively conservative. If you’re intrigued, though, and in the Austin area, you can check out Gomez’s homage to the bicycle this weekend: after a successful fundraiser at USA Projects, She: Bike/Spoke/Love returns to the stage at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. And, yes, there will be bike parking available.
I’m probably coming across as flippant, but I’d love to see this – I’ll have to settle for the handful of web videos I’ve found (unless her plans for touring work out). If you do make a performance this weekend (or saw that 2007 production), let us know what you thought.
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Image credit: Screen capture from USA Project video