PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Digesting the Indigestible



JACK FERVER
Mon Ma Mes
a black scrim rises
a man
  black polo shirt
black ballet shorts
black socks
sits in a chair
with a mic

 January 10, 2013 / fi:af / 22 east 60 st.

When the Question and Answer  begins an event, you know something is up.  Jack Ferver turned the tables on the audience Thursday night and that was a cue to the nature of his performance.

A member of the audience is given a question on a piece of paper to read aloud.  Jack Ferver answers.  His response might be at first perceived as autobiographical, but as the performance goes on, I realize these are carefully constructed stories.

Q: How have you accomplished so much at such a young age?
J.F.  I had to.  I’ve always been this driven.  Thank GOD I had ART, otherwise I would have blown my brains out.

Q:  Do you want to have children?
J.F. My partner and I adopted two children. I so busy.  I am away a lot.  I call my children every night and tell them “no one will every love you as much as I do”.

There is tremendous humor in these responses.  I laugh.  The rest of audience laughs.  It’s a kind of nervous laughter.  I am slightly jittery.  Claudia La Rocco in New York Times review of ‘Mon, Ma Mes,’ called Ferver  “a charismatic hysterical diva.”  He is frenetic and at the same time at ease in front of an audience.  His patter stops short of becoming a riff.  WHY I ask myself. 

In an extremely confined space, Ferver erupts suddenly into movement.  It’s a riveting performance.  These short dances are interspersed among scripted monologues and dances performed by friends in the audience.

It’s an intense experience.  Jack Ferver cultivates his persona like a  deliberate object of desire.  He has compared his performance to a line in the Emily Dickinson’s poem, A Narrow Fellow In The Grass, “zero at the bone.”  For me, this is what keeps his art honest.

______________________________________________
If you live in the New York area, I suggest signing up for fi:af email.
The French Institute Alliance Francaise organizes some of the most interesting
cultural events in the city at a reasonable price.


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