2018

Touching on Everything

Wrixling.com

 

2017

Character Assassination

 

2016

Relational Stalinism - The Musical

 

2014

100 Beautiful Jokes

The Roaster

 

2013

THRILLOCHROMES

 

2012

27 Gnosis

100 Big Entrances

XI Baltic Triennial

I’m back fore ground!

 

2011

Script Oppostion in Late-Model
Carrot Jokes

 

2010

Google Office 0.2

Alligators!

Taipei Women’s Experimental
Comedy Club

FRAN SPAFA FEDA

 

2009

Dr. Portnoy

Human Intwist Group

THE DUDION LEVERS

 

2008

CASINO ILINX

FILZZUNGEUNGEWISS

 

2007

WANDBISS

 

2006

... Obdurance Art ...

C.O.T.E.(Complication of the Everyday)

The K Sound

 

 

Touching on Everything, 2018

Commissioned by Steirischer Herbst

Graz, Austria

 

Theater performance - 60 min

 

We ask a lot of art these days. Art must generate crowds and be Instagrammable yet anti-spectacular, universal yet site-specific, topical yet timeless, political yet poetic. In short, art must touch on everything, and with its magical MacGyver fingers, gather up seemingly disparate fragments and make something of them… in other words, make everything better. Michael Portnoy’s new commission for steirischer herbst literally touches on everything. His performance is based on the remnants of the allegorical Yiddish play All Things Touch All Other Things Eventually (1928) by one Yosef Birnheim, which the artist found in a trove of documents recovered in Graz after World War II. The original play was never performed due to its scale, demanding as it did a cast of over seventy actors. While Yiddish allegorical folktales typically involve the conflict between one or two characters (Luck and Wisdom, Falsehood and Truth), Birnheim wanted his satirical play to represent an entire philosophical system of the interrelations between all ideas, each personified by his actors and the stage props. In Portnoy’s Touching on Everything the performers embody a range of abstract allegorical concepts. It is structured as a collection of short tales recited by a narrator about the inner lives and interactions between these notions (Nationalism, Identity, Politics, Justice, Gender, etc.), each of which is identified by an industrial felt sculpture worn around the neck of the actors. Every day we ask these notions to serve us in making sense of the world, but perhaps we should instead wonder what these notions want themselves, what demons they face when they’re alone, what strange language they speak to each other? Can we even understand it? With elements of contemporary dance, Yiddish song, variety theatre and physical comedy, Touching on Everything plays out the complex relations between these abstractions.

 

Concept and direction: Michael Portnoy

Cast: Magdalena Chowaniec, Marcus Ian McKenzie, Katharina Meves, Michael Portnoy

Text and music: Michael Portnoy

Choreography and additional text created in collaboration with the cast