What you get when you combine Daniel Kitson's latest show with Gob Squad's Kitchen.
By Shoshana Greenberg (Lyricist/Bookwriter)
Last Sunday I saw two extraordinary works of theater, but what made them extraordinary was not just the productions but the experience of seeing them back to back. Daniel Kitson's It's Always Right Now Until It's Later at St. Ann's Warehouse and Gob Squad's Kitchen (You've Never Had It So Good) at The Public Theater made for an engrossing five hour period in which I experienced the entirety of life itself.
In It's Always Right Now Until It's Later, the stage is empty save a chair, a small step ladder, and dozens of light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. Kitson runs from bulb to bulb as he tells the stories of William Rivington and Caroline Carpenter--one story from birth to death and the other backward, from death to birth. The characters' lives don't intertwine, however. The stories are just about two peoples' lives and the many moments that fill them. Kitson describes life as a deluge and these moments as drops in the ocean of that flood. He says that our brains fill in the gaps between these moments, but that there are, in fact, no real gaps in time.
Gob Squad's Kitchen, and the Andy Warhol films that inspire the piece, give us the gaps. Four members of the British-German group Gob Squad (the cast changes nightly, sometimes with the same actors playing different roles) attempt to reenact Warhol's 1965 film Kitchen, as well as parts of his movies Sleep, Eat, Kiss, and Screen Test, in which someone sleeps for eight hours, eats, engages in three-minute kisses, and sits for a long screen test, respectively. By the end of Gob Squad's delightful experiment, four members of the audience have taken the actors' places, and we are left with the hauntingly beautiful line: "In 100 years, people will look at this and say: 'That's why.'"
The combination of Daniel Kitson's tiny moments with Gob Squad's stretches of seemingly mundane routine equals the breath of human experience. Unfortunately, It's Always Right Now Until It's Later closes today, but you can still see Gob Squad's Kitchen at The Public Theater for one more week until February 5. You won't get the entire human experience, but you'll get a part that, as Gob Squad says, looks for "the hidden depths beneath the shiny surfaces of modern life."