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Still Standing You

A self-indulgently vulgar and artless display.

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A scene from “Still Standing You” (Photo credit: OT Campo)

A scene from “Still Standing You” (Photo credit: OT Campo)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

What can you say about two grown men who spend nearly an hour unabashedly grabbing at—not to mention twisting, stretching and otherwise manipulating—each other’s penises, beating each other with belts, strangling each other and flinging each other’s sweaty bodies across a stage performing mostly in the nude?

The duo that makes up and has created Still Standing You consists of the charmingly suave Guilherme Garrido from Portugal and the dour, heavily bearded Pieter Ampe from Belgium, neither of whom appear to have ever set foot in a dance class.  Skinny, but out of shape, they nevertheless proved that they certainly were not weaklings, supporting each other in odd lifts, tucks and all sorts of interlocking of body parts.

Purporting to illuminate their relationship—whether they be friends, lovers, professional mates, or whatever—Still Standing You comes across as a primal expression of ways to cause pain in another person, often eliciting shocked yelps from the audience members (several of whom left despite the absence of an intermission).

Perhaps it’s the difference between European and American sensibilities, but I cannot imagine that this disconnected series of realistic, blood-drawing sado-masochistic acts is viewed differently in Europe.  Self-indulgence is self-indulgence.

There were shockingly gross moments in Still Standing You involving spitting, drawing blood with leather belts and near smothering.  The genital fondling, however, had more of a little-boys-innocently-discovering-each-other feel.  The fact that it was grotesquely unsexy and unattractive and went on far too long didn’t seem to faze the performers.  (Details provided on request only.)  Whether the “choreography” of all this gleeful savagery is set or is improvised on the spot is impossible to discern.

Those lured to the show by the titillatingly nude poster/flier art will have been sorely disappointed by the anti-erotic, physically abhorrent, unsensual artlessness of these two clueless show-offs.

Still Standing You (May 13 – 14, 2016)

Henry Street Settlement

Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street at Pitt Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 212- 598-0400 or visit http://www.Abronsartscenter.org.

Running time: one hour with no intermission

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (351 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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