Lying on the sunlit floor
by Anna Drozdowski
Mascher Space Cooperative arrived in Philadelphia just a few months after I did – in a sense, we’ve both lived in the performance community for the same amount of time. In service of the transition, I posed a few open-questions about this collective space, held close by so many bodies. Answers kept pouring in throughout the 155 Swan Song Festival, too juicy and lengthy to parse into one piece.
As Mascher picks up and moves to a new location after fourteen years of residence at 155 Cecil B. Moore, please add your response for inclusion in this series of winter reflections. To everything there is a season.
Q: Describe a magical moment at Mascher:
Fresh Juice 2019. I was back to concert dance after a hiatus. The fellow artists, tech, producer, and box office person were classy top notch humans.
Ten Tiny Dances (2018), a fundraiser for Mascher Space, was such a magical weekend of performances. So many current and former Artists in Residence and community members came together for the event. Everyone was extremely generous and happy to be there, and made great dances. The last piece of the show was an improvisation by Curt Haworth. I was running tech and had been instructed to fade to black after 8 minutes. During the last run of the show, as the lights began to fade, Curt turned the tiny stage onto its side, and at the exact moment that there was a true black out, the floor of the stage fell out of its frame and crashed to the floor in a dramatic fashion. Everyone gasped, the lights came back on, and we began to celebrate.
Dancing in my underwear for the first time with dear friends from Mexico, LA, and Philly.
Oh wow, hundreds:
- Lying in the bright patches of sun streaming through the south-facing window.
- Trying to move slowly enough not to disturb the motes of dust floating in the air.
- Pissing off the neighbors by barking like dogs during a Deborah Hay score.
- Spending dozens of sweaty sweaty hours in tyvec suits sound-insulating the ceiling to try and make peace again. HAHAHA.
- And shows, shows, shows. Yassky taking five minutes to let tears run over their eyes. Juma mumbling into Will Robinson's mouth. Dancing until exhaustion in Leyya Tawil's Destroy//.
Waiting for Scott McPheeters to bust out of the bathroom as the Candyman while tap dancing with Anna Drozdowski.
Mascher was my first taste of the Philly dance COMMUNITY. It was also where I established my first professional 'home,' for which I will always be grateful.
Juma and Shannon's shared Idiosyncrazy show. It had this bursting energy and spoke to the nuances of collaboration, friendship, and the ecstasy, intimacy, and risk-taking amongst and between moving and sensing bodies. It occurred at a point in my own artistic life where I was feeling really angry and stuck—like dance couldn't be an answer or means of diving into any of the stuff that is so deeply troubled...
Then I saw the show (after being like, oh no.… Mascher's internet is down, and do people smell gas? Or is that rotting trash? Or water damage, perhaps? Or mold?). Seeing this work in the space, feeling the floorboards tremble and our cracked floor getting worse was exhilarating for me; it touched me so deeply and gave me energy to go on making work. Sounds dramatic but honestly it went something like that!
By Anna Drozdowski
November 12, 2019