The Success of Failure
Cynthia Hopkins' new performance piece is undercut by the artist's need to explain everything to the audience.
The piece is structured in two parts, with the first half being a sci-fi tale peppered with whimsy and humor. Set in the far future, the main narrative of this section focuses on Ruom Yes Noremac (Hopkins), an alcoholic space pilot sent on a mission to save her race from an attack by the Intergalactic League for Universal Consciousness (or ILUC for short). However, her leaders may have been deceiving her as to the ILUC's true intentions.
While the actual storyline is admittedly hokey, the staging is quite beautiful thanks to director D.J. Mendel and a terrific design team led by set, video, and production designers Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg, who also perform in the piece. One of the highlights is when Hopkins is literally lifted into the air, spinning around in slow motion as if moving in zero gravity.
The other crucial component to the performance is the music composed by and sung by Hopkins. While it could loosely be categorized within an indie folk pop genre, it also has operatic components and Hopkins' vocals have a haunting and ethereal quality.
After the space adventure comes to its conclusion, Hopkins comes out and delivers an exposition-heavy explanation of what brought her to this point, outlining the various autobiographical connections to her performance art trilogy (of which this is the final installment). And the piece just comes to a thudding halt. There may be a therapeutic aspect for Hopkins in sharing details of her mother's death from cancer, as well as her own struggle with alcoholism. But the arc of this segment follows a rather predictable pattern of addiction, realization, relapse, and recovery.