Portfolio: Cave Dogs | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Portfolio: Cave Dogs

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AS: When I first joined, I just sat in the back and watched the rest of them run through the piece. Afterward, they asked me what I thought, and I basically just told them the whole story. They were amazed, they couldn’t believe that I got it all. When I saw it, I appreciated the war theme, the family theme, and I liked the way they poked a bit of fun at the administration now. When the Iraq war started, I was in Europe, and there were a few times that I actually said I was Canadian over there. This show really brought back some of those feelings. The more I watched it, the more I got involved, the more I appreciate it.
There’s a lot to focus on at once. The more you see it, the more you can pick up from it. Some of the lines are very subtle, other things slip in. I know some people who were concentrating mostly on the visual side of the show. The shadows are so dimensional, there are things you can miss there as well. Many times as we rehearsed, I would notice lines I hadn’t even heard before, because I was so involved in doing my part. It does take time to hear and to see everything in the story. The music is a big part of it as well. There’s a reason why that song is there, there’s a reason why those words are being said. It’s a sensory overload.



Indirect direction
JF:
Everyone [in the group] locks into a different piece of the show, and it’s the same for the audience as well. It’s such a huge sensory overload in both the visual sense and the audio sense, it’s a real challenge to concentrate on both. I think it’s a good challenge, a positive challenge, because you’re trying to connect to so many things. Lots of people come out and say, “I’m not sure what that was about, but I really liked it.” It’s the effect of the effects. Sometimes we try to let it be just about the soundtrack, like a radio experience, or hearing a story told to you, so you can generate some of your own mental images as an audience.

SS: I think the way we work as a group, as a collaborative, and the kinds of fairly serious topics we address—the format we use with the shadow and video projections and the soundtrack—is a nice way to say difficult information. If people can see it and hear it in a different way than just “We shouldn’t be at war” or whatever, it’s just a way of giving information.

DG:
The show is just not didactic, or a political show in the sense of having a single point. It’s a layering of history, of multiple generations and the issues that they’re facing. An important part of it for me, coming in after the story was written, the continual evolution and process of matching the shadows to soundtrack, changing the soundtrack to match things we were doing the back, changing the cast which brought new ideas and ways of doing the shadows. There was a continual collaboration with what we’re each doing. It’s an amazingly creative process.

TL: The process itself is a statement which mirrors what I love about what we’re saying. It’s that community that has evolved in that apartment building, that’s what’s important in life. I love the picture, the video of the soldiers in slow motion. You know they’re veterans, and you know that they come into this as well. For me it’s an antiwar statement, but it’s ultimately an affirmation of community.

From the Cave Dogs production of "Archaeology of a Storm."
  • From the Cave Dogs production of "Archaeology of a Storm."
Cave Dogs in their Bloomington studio (back row): Amy Schoonover, Jeremy Holmes, Suzanne Stokes, Michelle Hughes, Dan Getman; (front row) Tracey Leavitt, Jim Fossett.
  • Cave Dogs in their Bloomington studio (back row): Amy Schoonover, Jeremy Holmes, Suzanne Stokes, Michelle Hughes, Dan Getman; (front row) Tracey Leavitt, Jim Fossett.
From the Cave Dogs production of "Archaeology of a Storm."
  • From the Cave Dogs production of "Archaeology of a Storm."
From the Cave Dogs production of "Archaeology of a Storm."
  • From the Cave Dogs production of "Archaeology of a Storm."

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