created by Johanna Bundon, Jayden Pfeifer, & Lee Henderson
Peter Tripp, a once-celebrated radio DJ, performed a publicity stunt in 1959 wherein he broadcast continuously, for 201 hours, from a glass booth in Times Square. This act was his undoing—he suffered psychological complications from prolonged sleep deprivation, and his increased fame made him a target for investigators who would indict him for commercial bribery in the “payola” scandal of 1960.
Tripp figures as an aspirational (and cautionary) figure in our current thinking around arts practice. We find rich territory in the metaphor of the radio broadcast—the host sends performative energy into literal thin air, not knowing whether it is being received by listeners. Exhaustion acts as a character in Tripp’s story, as the ever present wolf-at-the-door threatening to consume the performer while simultaneously motivating his gimmick.
Untitled Peter Tripp Project is a physical and poetic interpretation of Tripp’s dilemma, created and performed by artists Johanna Bundon, Jayden Pfeifer, and Lee Henderson. This work highlights the natural interdisciplinarity of performance by composing an atmosphere that activates space, breath, gesture, voice, light, and sound with equal importance. These performance strategies include endurance-based movement, improvisational and written text, image projection, radio frequency programming, and the fracturing/looping of sound recordings to conjure hallucination, fugue states, and doppelganger-paranoia. The work is imaginative and sensation rich, and aspires to affect the nervous system of the individuals in attendance through the performers’ embodiment of these heightened states of presence.
Audiences encounter aspects of ‘Peter’ (or an imagined facsimile thereof) are variously inhabited and shed by the performers over the course of the piece. This multitudinous portrayal, combined with set design, projection, audio, radio broadcast, and robotics, enact the altered forms of consciousness that a sleep-deprived performer experiences. Narrative, in its broadest sense, is present, but steps aside to allow visual metaphor to lead our conversation.
This ensemble of artists move fluidly between the roles of performer and technician, activating the performance space for one another with lights, sound, and text. They work in relay to create the images and performance actions, handing off the metaphorical baton to keep the momentum of both the technical aspects and performative actions. And, they enter the arena of Tripp’s myth to research their personal relationships to themes of exhaustion, public failure, and loneliness.
Dates: May 4 - 6, 2023.
Times: 7:30pm evening performances on May 4, 5, and 6th. 4pm matinee on May 6.
Run Time: 75 minutes, no intermission.
Location: secret location to be announced! You'll get a reminder email a week before the show letting you know where to go.
Tickets: $25, including service fees.
* if you have financial barriers which make it difficult to access this event, please do not hesitate to reach out to email@example.com and we will help you arrange a ticket free of charge.
Created and performed by Johanna Bundon, Jayden Pfeifer, and Lee Henderson.
Documentation by Shelby Fenlon and Lee Henderson
Presented by Curtain Razors, Regina
Original Production of Untitled Peter Tripp Project was supported by SK-ARTS and Canada Council for the Arts.