Wordless! is a collaboration between artist Art Spiegelman and musician Phillip Johnston—but it’s really about Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and Milt Gross. The evening—which I was fortunate to catch last year—involves the Johnston Sextet improvising over a slide show of the wordless comics of the above as set up by Spiegelman. And Art being Art, this is also a lucid, connection making journey through comics and art history, the oppressive woodcuts of Masereel eventually coming out in Spiegelman’s own work. And for you social history buffs, the continued theme of young women who are done in by their own society flouting desires—aka getting knocked up by some cad —provides an interesting window into the time period of these comics.
Wordless! was commissioned for the same Australian arts festival which saw the astonishing The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell and Fourplay.
Wordless! is quite an amazing piece of theater and while it’s been touring for a bit New Yorkers will have ONLY ONE MORE CHANCE TO SEE IT! And it’s this March 13th. Deets:
Art Spiegelman & Phillip Johnston’s
one performance only:
Friday, March 13, 7:30 pm. Miller Theater
Columbia University Theater 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street)
If you haven’t seen Wordless, do it. You’ll kick yourself forever for not seeing it when you had the chance. And here’s a video trailer in you need any more convincing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.