Featuring a number of his early collaborators, Peep Show, co-directed by Reza Abdoh, foretells the director’s radical use of space and moving image. Staged in the seedy Hollywood Highland Hotel, where he worked night shifts, the show comprised six scenes in as many rooms, each outfitted with a television set and an egg-timer to punctuate the actors’ performance as the audience moved from space to space. Thereafter, Abdoh’s affinity for unconventional settings—as Peter Sellars recently reflected, “a desolate place [gave Abdoh] permission to create a horrible, exhilarating mess”—meant he was as likely to envision work in a pre-gentrified Meatpacking District or in abandoned hotel ballrooms as in the noted Los Angeles Theatre Center or at European arts festivals. This program of videos created for Peep Show includes a dreamlike William S. Burroughs adaptation, a noirish scenario centered on a body-builder call girl, and a Dante- and folklore—inflected story of suffering and redemption. True to Abdoh’s sprawling approach to narrative, the use of exceprts from the Iran-Contra hearings, war images, nature footage, and erotica have a disorienting effect that contributes to the videos’ cumulative impact.
Program approx. 80 min.
My Face (Peep Show showtape, Scene III). 1988. USA. Directed by Reza Abdoh. From the production written by Reza Abdoh and Mira-Lani Oglesby. Based on a story by William S. Burroughs. With Tom Fitzpatrick, Marta Holen, Brenden Doyle, Ken Roht. Narrated by Allan Mandell. Cinematography by Bill O'Shaughnessy. 26 min.
Journalist. (Peep Show showtape, Scene VI). 1988. USA. Directed by Reza Abdoh. From the production written by Reza Abdoh and Mira-Lani Oglesby. With Carla Maria von Wiegandt. Cinematography by Bill O'Shaughnessy. 26 min.
Jean Kirkpatrick (Peep Show showtape, Scene I). 1988. USA. Directed by Reza Abdoh. From the production written by Reza Abdoh and Mira-Lani Oglesby. With Beatrice Manley Blau. Cinematography by Bill O'Shaughnessy. 26 min.