Depending on where you are tonight, you might be approached by a stranger with a video camera.
This Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., experimental theater and performance art collective “Gob Squad” will bring their most widely performed creation, “Super Night Shot,” straight from the streets of New Haven and into the University Theatre. Each member of the cast goes off into the streets with a stopwatch, a film camera and a mission: to work together to create a cinematic movie kiss between the “hero” (played by a member of the group) and a total stranger. After a precisely timed 60 minutes of structured improvisation throughout the city, the members of Gob Squad return to the theater venue and press play. Audience members and performers all watch the uncut footage together for the very first time, as it is projected onto four separate screens (and the sound is mixed live).
Since 2003 there have been about 200 unique renditions of “Super Night Shot” from São Paolo and Oslo to cities across Germany, where the group is based. According to “Gob Squad” member Sarah Thom, “Super Night Shot” draws on the “psychogeography” of whatever city space it is being performed in.
“We’re like very naïve tourists who come to a city and see it for the very first time with very fresh, unjaded eyes,” Thom said. “We want to make life more like the movies, for it to be in slow motion, to have beautiful kisses.”
The two-night special engagement is part of the Yale Rep’s “No Boundaries” initiative, a program that seeks to bring genre-bending, international theater and performance art to Yale. “Super Night Shot” is the first “No Boundaries” event in the 2012-’13 season.
Each performance of “Super Night Shot” begins with the performers reciting their manifesto onscreen:
“Each of us is just one in a million, easy to replace and easy to forget in a city that doesn’t really need us. But don’t worry. We’re going to change all that. We’ve got a plan. This city will need us, and this film will be our witness.”