Jeff Smith 2:15 p.m., July 27
SD Fringe Festival: Work: in Progress
"There are very few jobs where you invite people to watch your work," says Hannah Logan, and even fewer "where people write about your work."
One of the latter is performance art which, after a long search, has become Logan's calling. Work: in Progress combines her personal quest with profiles and vignettes, based on over 100 interviews of American workers.
As a youth watching TV, she wanted to be one of Charlie's Angels: "you know, fight crime in a tube top and high heels?"
In her first job she was acting and didn't know it. She tele-marketed garbage bags and really sold them.
Some of the soloists at the Fringe Festival talk about how they found performance art. A common, though often unspoken theme: versatility. Where else could Sean Sullivan (Baby Redboots' Revenge) express his myriad talents at once? Same with former Broadway dancer Mark C. Reis (Diapers, Dishes, and Dreams)
And Logan, who wanted to be more than just entertaining ("art should say something!") and who can replicate a galaxy of voices and distinct speech patterns.
Logan says she admires the autobiographical monologues of the late Spalding Gray. But her piece - at times hauntingly serious, at others screamingly funny - unfolds like a contemporary update of Studs Terkel's Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).
And when her people talk, she becomes each one.
Like the attitude-rich young woman who saw a customer wearing "real" fur. "Know why I know it was real fur? Because it had a head on it!"
And the passive "old lady in accounting" who dares to make a suggestion that changes her life. Or the saintly caregiver who watches over Matthew. He has pica: a need to eat non-food items like bottlecaps and a Bic lighter.
Or the Navy singer's world-class epiphany when he reached the final notes of "The Impossible Dream" and, in that moment, it came true.
That's one of the best days anyone had on their job, says Logan. She also performs some of the worst she's learned about, among them Japanese Karoshi: "death by overwork."
Logan presents her findings in a kind of lecture format: desk, music stand/podium, videos, and music. But to her credit she doesn't lecture. She lets her people speak for themselves.
Like the homeless African-American, the self-proclaimed "Speaker of the House of Nature." He speaks, he says, "for the voices you have crowded out."
Space 4 Art, Indoor Gallery, 325 Fifteenth Street, downtown, Sunday, July 7 at 2:00 p.m.