Magazine article The New Yorker

Time Flies

Magazine article The New Yorker

Time Flies

Article excerpt

Time Flies

Anna Kohler, a performance artist and Wooster Group veteran, has a new piece.

When I first began catching shows downtown, in late-night Manhattan, in the early nineteen-eighties, a fair amount of what I went to see was called performance art. I sort of had a sense of what that was, but didn't quite understand what made performance art distinct from "regular" theatre: wasn't it all part of the game of getting people to believe what was happening in real time and space? One of the artists whose work I admired most--whom I believed most--was a young German woman named Anna Kohler. I first saw her at a place called the Red Bar, in the East Village. She was performing in the cramped space with a then young unknown actor named Steve Buscemi and the comedian Mark Boone Junior. I can't remember what their performance was about, but I do remember staring up at them with joy. Their exuberance and beauty--Kohler had a face as round and pretty as Debbie Harry's--was exciting to be near.

Later, I saw Kohler with the Wooster Group--she was a member of the company for ten years--where she played, among many other roles, the grasping, insecure Natalya, in the director Elizabeth LeCompte's version of "The Three Sisters." Called "Brace Up! …

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