At the end of a 10,000-mile car trip across America with his partner, Karl, in 1997, Chris Burnside vowed to “incorporate the trip into [him]self.” In his wry, poignant one-man show Travelogue (Lark Studio Theatre, 939 Eighth Avenue, 206-1515, through August 25), Burnside’s body speaks along with his voice as he recounts the drive from Richmond to Portland and back again. Burnside has danced with Bella Lewitsky and Jane Comfort, among others. Here, his lithe, focused gestures amplify a gently zany narrative that takes in environmentalism, friendship, hypochondria, and 49 dinners (from baked salmon to pretzels and scotch). A wooden bench becomes his partner in the story of a wrestling match. A finger on the floor dots out tiny towns he traveled through. Imagining a Pacific Northwest rainforest, Burnside lets us feel the silence; in the Painted Desert, his hands articulate colors and striations. He maps the trip on the alternate geography of the stage, finding meanings both conventional and unconventional in a journey that began “without an itinerary or a plan.” It’s a winning exploration.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 14, 2001