BLIND IN TIME

Playwright: Linda Mussman & Claudia Bruce
Director: Linda Mussman

performance schedule:
May 26 - June 10, 2001
The Annex Theatre
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee at 2:30pm
$20.00


"Blind in Time" opens in the year l961 and casts a glance from there across Mussmann's coming-of-age years. Facts from her personal history are placed against the political backdrop of the period from 1961 to 2001. The multi-media performance begins with Eisenhower's farewell speech, his warning of the mighty military industrial complex looming on America's future, Kennedy's inauguration, and America's first flight into orbit around the earth. The performance space is washed with images and sounds of the events that Mussmann has taken from actual footage. She cuts, chops, and grinds history and intermixes it with her own. She searches for what has happened to America during the last forty years as well as what has happened to her and her partner as they have traveled into the 21st Century.

In this mid-time of life, Mussmann and Bruce remain artists/activists. Their theater work is a reflection of the life and times and the art and politics they have practiced since l969. The harsh censorship of the NEA grants of l989/90 projected Mussmann and Bruce's Time & Space Limited theater into a new awareness of the power of art and politics. They rejected the grant that the NEA had awarded TSL and returned the $10,000, never to be funded by the NEA again. They moved their theater company out of NYC to look for a new way of sustaining their art.

In 1991, Mussmann and Bruce bought a building in an abandon neighborhood in a hard-time river town called Hudson, New York (two hours directly north of NYC). Time & Space Limited was re-born into an multi-disciplinary arts center where many events take place year round including original theater pieces, art-house film screenings, art exhibitions, documentary premières, dance and music concerts, youth programs, and community events of all kinds.

Quite often, Mussmann and Bruce find themselves in the center of controversies rooted in community issues such as drug problems, a poor education system, lack of art for the community's youth, lack of funds for elderly people, and other
issues of importance. They have been challenged to address these issues by using the arts as a tool to evoke discussion, debate, and remedies.

Politics continues to spice the theater work of Mussmann and Bruce. Since moving away from the urban center of NYC and into the rural / suburban climate of Columbia County, Mussmann and Bruce have become fascinated and fixated on their new home, Hudson, NY, where fast food chains, Wal-Mart, mass industrial forces, and out-of-scale developers have invaded the once rich rural Hudson Valley and threaten to transform its uniqueness into the homogenized landscape that is so often found outside urban centers.

In 196l, Mussmann was a high school freshman in rural Indiana. In "Blind in Time", she looks back and forward and mixes her personal past and personal present with the public events of the last forty years in America. She speaks of the
hopes inspired by the president and the poet (Kennedy and Frost) whom she watched on TV as a young woman. She speaks of her teenage chaos--of beer and cigarettes, driving fast and learning to rock n' roll. She writes of looking to get out of the wasteland of rural America and find a new life. And part of that journey brought her and Claudia together. In 2001, they are celebrating 25 years of collaboration.

"Blind in Time" is an example of how Mussmann and Bruce use art as a solution and a way of surviving. They urge all artists to become activists and to channel their creativity to challenge the politics of destruction. As Ike reminded us:
"We--you and I--and our government--must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. "Claudia Bruce acts as the translator who sings, speaks, and interprets the text, weaving the parts together while Mussmann simultaneously directs and manipulates projections and live camera to create a passionate take on the sights and sounds of their continuous present.


2001 page