* Description written by artist and conceptualist , Anna Ialeggio*
Crane & Man is a devised performance collaboration between Anna Ialeggio and Robyn O’Dell. We use dance, clown, sculpture, and field recorded audio-video installation to explore the potentiality of empathetic connection and Otherness through a tragi-fantastical narrative of scientist-to-bird bonding.
Crane & Man is based on the true story of a rare fertile female Whooping Crane in captivity in the late 1970’s. Originally raised by and cared for by humans, Tex, the crane protagonist, enters into a long-term animal-to-human-bound kinship with middle-aged George Archibald — an ornithologist who is committed to preserving her unique genetic line. His unprecedented and complex bond with the crane involves a meticulous practice of learning to dance with and for her over the course of three years. Ialeggio and O’Dell inhabit such considerations as collaborators and queer interlocutors to dance this story of entangled agencies and futurity. Crane & Man offers a vivid textual site for the potency of transformative empathy in a time of global ecosystem collapse, as well as social estrangement in the human realm.
George, the scientist, is embodied by Ialeggio and O’Dell enacts “Tex,” the crane. Both utilize their respective repertories in clowning/sculpture and dance/theater in order to produce a theater vivarium: an on-stage enclosure adapted to preserve the two “organisms” under semi-(un)natural conditions for observation and voyeuristic study while at the same time enacting a dance performance for a contemporary audience.