Director's Note on tonight's performance of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in Story/Time.
The visual landscape of Story/Time is defined by my sitting at a desk in the middle of the playing area. The decision to do this is a direct response to the image I hold of John Cage in his work Indeterminacy (1958), in which he sat alone on stage reading an unbroken stream of one-minute stories to a small audience. Initially, that is what I thought this work would be: an opportunity for me to return to the stage in a low-key, non-popular performance art-mode, reading my stories, each one a minute long, often personal but not exclusively so. As the company is an essential expression of my thought and creative process, I decided that I would read the stories at the center of the ever-shifting landscape of the company's task-based menu of events. I felt that this would make for an interesting and resonant dissonance- something John Cage himself was interested in. He and I are quite different men; our time are different. This fact added a layer of urgency and interest for me as I am constantly attempting to calibrate and understand my work and myself in the modernist tradition. Turning to Cage at this point in my creative life serves as both a provocation and a comfort.
As in the 1959 treatment of Indeterminacy by Cage, joined by David Tudor, the three main streams of Story/Time (stories, choreography, and music) are sometimes (but not exclusively) governed by chance procedure, each pursuing their own logic, simply co-incident. The stories (drawn from a selection of more than 150) and the order in which they are read are determined by chance. Seventy minutes of choreography are selected from a growing and changing menu of 35 items spanning 105 minutes. A unique musical score is generated by composer Ted Coffey during each performance.
- Bill T. Jones