Blue jeans and white gloves appear throughout the piece. Why? Sam Shepard is very denim-oriented. We were looking at the stage directions from his plays -- without the dialogue. A guy puts on a glove and his bucking strap and he has his jeans and a limp. We just did all the things this character is told to do, without doing any of his lines.
Which Shepard plays? I don't even know which one it was. We were being very random about it, just taking directions from plays. And then the Genet play has all these actions with people relating to clothes -- walking around a clothesline, talking to the clothes, falling over, shaking, and hitting. It started accumulating and we ended up with more and more denim.
How did you come up with the name smithsoniansmith? Kristin came up with that name. She had heard an interview with a woman named Patty Smith who was always being confused with [singer] Patti Smith so she changed her name to "Patty Smithsonian." We added one more "smith" since a "smith" is a person, like a builder.
What's the queer connection? We are queer people, two of us. It's the work we make. It's not explicit that we're going to make a gay piece but we're happy fags and dykes making our art on stage. Arwen is a lesbian and [lighting designer] Heidi [Eckwall] is her partner. They have two kids.
Is there a message in the work? There's not an overt message. The audience is free to experience it.
Info: Smithsoniansmith by Scott Heron & HIJACK (Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder) Choreographed and Performed by Scott Heron, Kristin Van Loon, Arwen Wilder Lighting design by Heidi Eckwall
Thu-Sat, August 5th-7th at 730 PM Dixon Place Tel: 212 219-0736 www.dixonplace.org Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the door