The two Alter Egons perform small roles and act as stage managers, wheeling or carrying objects around. When the painter throws himself onto his new wife, they pull the couple offstage on the red cloth that serves as a bridal bed. Most importantly, they team up with Kelly, arm-in-arm or pasted together spoon-fashion, to expand on Schieles life in small movement sequences. While his mistress negotiates with him for a continued relationship, the two men join Meehan to form a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil tableau. They dance expansively too, and I wonder a little about this. Even used minimally and in passing, an arabesque conveys something outside Schieles cloistered world. I also initially queried Kellys references to Giselleusing Adolphe Adams famous score and approximating the heroines steps (including her dizzying hopped turns when shes first awakened from death into a deadly afterlife). But this may be an allusion both to the artists demonic possession by his work and to art that exists after death.
Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte is stunning at almost every moment (I might except the long sequence of hard-to-decipher, posed slides of Kelly that indicate Schieles debilitating time in prison, as well as images here and there that seem too obvious, like the cloaked specter of death that wanders out of a barrage of smoke). In wonderfully artful ways, Kelly balances crudeness, delicacy, and tenderness. In one lovely vignette, while Edith Schielealone, nearing her term, and knitting baby clothesseems to be worrying about her husbands absence, one of his surrogates (Murphy) is in fact beside her, kneeling to hold up the skein of yarn that she is winding into a ball. Twice the ball slips from her hands, unrolling like her soon-to-end life.