There's something both whimsical and dead serious about Bob Eisen, something daunting and elusive that makes anything you say about him bound to be wrong. He won't let me tell you much about his new piece, Performance by Bob Eisen Revisited, which he's calling "part performance art, part ritual, part environmental theater." But that's less a matter of hating to be pinned down than of wanting to surprise us. And if art can be defined as whatever makes us see things anew, this work promises to fill the bill. With his longtime collaborator, painter and set designer Tom Melvin, Eisen intends to transform the Link's Hall space. And he intends to reenvision himself--this piece incorporates a video from the 1980 solo Performance by Bob Eisen that shows him leaving Link's Hall, crossing Clark Street, and buying a quart of beer. Doesn't sound exciting, does it? But Eisen is a magician of the ordinary, an artist with a deep understanding of theater and a deep need to undercut theatrical pretense. Long a denizen of the dance world--he's been making dances here for 17 years, and won a Ruth Page award for his choreography in 1992--at 47 Eisen seems to be taking stock. Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 281-0824. June 3 through 5: Friday-Sunday, 9 PM (so it will be dark, says Eisen). $7, or free for those who saw the 1980 performance.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael P. Fillor.