Initially presented in November 2007 at the PS/K2 Festival in Copenhagen and staged several times at the downtown 3LD Art + Technology Center over the last few years, Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project is back for a special limited engagement at the Greenwich St. institution through September 25. The thirty-minute piece puts a solitary dancer inside a ten-foot-by-ten-foot square, surrounded by more than a dozen small wooden-framed screens on which are projected scenes from Carl Th. Dreyer’s epic 1928 silent classic, The Passion of Joan of Arc. The performer, Laura K. Nicoll, picks up various screens and moves them around, trapped much like the captured Joan of Arc (Maria Falconetti) is in the film, creating a living, breathing three-dimensional effect filled with powerful emotion. “I’ve been with the project for two years now and it’s so incredibly satisfying to perform,” Nicoll told twi-ny. Monday night’s show will benefit Foxy Films’ newest production, Farrington’s multimedia A Christmas Carol or Dickens: The Unparalleled Necromancer, which will run December 1-20 at the Abrons Arts Center. (For a look at Farrington’s Gin & “It,” which played PS 122 in April 2010, click here.)
Update: The Passion Project is a breathtaking tour de force for both creator and director Reid Farrington and performer Laura K. Nicoll. For thirty mesmerizing minutes, Nicoll, barefoot and dressed in sackcloth and ashes, a sullen yet determined look on her face, places and re-places small wooden-framed white screens on hooks dangling from rope knots (that evoke nooses), moving the screens to capture images being projected into the air that have been taken from three different versions (1928, 1935, and 1980) of Carl Th. Dreyer’s silent classic The Passion of Joan of Arc. With whirlwind fury, Nicoll shoots out a screen to show one of the characters discussing Joan of Arc’s fate, or holds another screen in front of her as she walks across the floor, moving with the characters, or suddenly falls to the ground with a screen outstretched to grab yet another part of the story. At other times she sits down next to a small close-up of Joan’s aching face or wanders out of the ten-foot-by-ten-foot area and approaches an audience member, looking into their eyes before continuing on. Translations are shown on three sides so the viewers, who are strongly encouraged to make their way around the set, experiencing the piece from multiple angles, can follow the plot, although every detail is not critical. What is critical is not to miss a moment of Nicoll’s awe-inspiring performance, including the dazzling finale.