Dollhouse, performed by the choreographer and dancer Bill Coleman and the sound artist Gordon Monahan, shows a man whose living space is disintegrating around him. As Monahan’s score whoops and wails, mousetraps snap at Coleman’s feet, furniture collapses, and even the floor attacks him, as sticky tiles adhere to his body. In one passage, Monahan “plays” Coleman, applying electrodes to his belly and thighs that set off sympathetic squarks from the sound equipment. All of this has a slapstick, Buster Keaton-esque quality. But there’s a profound sense of entropy, too. Of things winding down, and ineluctably getting worse.
Coleman has the etiolated look of a medieval martyr, an impression heightened by his impassivity. He makes constant reference to Christian iconography, appearing multiply pierced with arrows like St Sebastian, or slumped in a boneless cruciform shape, as if in a Rubens deposition. We have made a world of things, Dollhouse tells us. And now they’ve turned against us.
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