The Plans We Make: Thoughts on SALE by Eyal Dadon

“Man makes plans and God laughs.”

Sitting in the third row of the packed Suzanne Dellal Hall watching Eyal Dadon’s SALE at International Exposure, this saying popped into my mind. It got there thanks to a little bag of microwave popcorn.

Directly in front of me, on stage, a microwave sat on the floor next to a stool and a sign reading IT MEANS A LOT.

I have seen many electrical appliances on stage before but never a microwave, I thought.

The microwave played one important role, to pop a bag of popcorn. Aside from this one, crucial part, the microwave was basically an extra, no lines, no movement, nada. Once it finished it’s 2 minutes and 27 seconds of action, it was left to sit quietly on the side, awaiting curtain call.

I could feel all of the thought and effort Dadon put into getting that silvery microwave on stage, into its torrid interaction with the bag of popcorn. It most certainly MEANT A LOT to him.

I could imagine him plotting out the how the popcorn bag would be handed gently to the audience member seated closest to the stage and the slow journey it would make through the crowd, delighting each and every viewer with one, perfect, buttery kernel. What a wonderful addition that would make to the UX of the piece.

And then the moment of truth arrived. The bag was drawn out of the microwave’s square abdomen, opened, a shy plume of steam piped from its papery exterior and then, in the following minutes, both their purposes were exterminated.

Dadon handed the bag down to that audience member, who I will refer to as The Man In Glasses. Dadon gestured to the Man In Glasses to pass it down, and went back to dancing. The bag remained in that hand for about three minutes, the baffled Man In Glasses too confused to even take a taste of the fragrant popcorn inside. Awkwardness. Despair. And then, a fellow audience member put The Man In Glasses out of his misery, plucked the bag from his hand and placed it on the theater floor, right by the exit.

How often as choreographers do we place our hopes on a certain reaction of the audience’s, only to be diverted in real time? Audiences are unpredictable masses.

“Man makes plans and God laughs.”