January 7, 2017
Mark Russell, Director of Under The Radar Festival at Public Theater, urges us to listen to artists this year. “All of them are dreaming of a different world,” he writes in his festival program. Hundred Days, which has been developing since 2012, makes you appreciate the gift of being. Can’t ask for much more than that. Make it a priority to get yourself to The Public.
Abigail and Shaun Bengson who conceived, wrote and star in Hundred Days, ask us to imagine slowing down time and savoring the best of what we have, right now. The spine of the piece is love, the exquisite sensations of love, tinged with the fear of loosing it; as triggered by a recurring dream that Abigail had as a child in which she encountered the love of her life, only to loose him after 100 days. When she met Shaun, she instantly decided this was her man; Shaun felt the same: he says “I found my person.”
As directed by Anne Kauffman, Hundred Days has an unpretentious feel, as though you had ambled into a college pub and encountered a band led by a voluptuous, fierce young woman in a homespun dress heating up the place, pounding the floor with her cowboy boots, slyly inviting us to jump on her joy wagon. Alone, she sings sometimes with the raw energy of a Janis Joplin; but when she sings with Shaun, who has a vague resemblance to John Lennon, they evoke harmony, with the timeless charm of two energies blending.
Oddly, their music together seems less distinct, perhaps because their focus shifts from oral to emotional chemistry. Without a dash of sentimentality though, the Bengsons grab you by the gut with the depth and force of their feeling, from the panic of squandering a moment to the simplicity of an honest chat, facing each other on stools, asking each other, “What do you care about?”
With the Bengsons are Colette Alexander, Geneva Harrison, Jo Lampert, and Reggie D. White; with movement direction by Sonya Tayeh; set, projection, and prop design by Kris Stone.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY - - Deirdre Towers