As their publicity materials repeatedly make clear, AudioBody is like no other act and their performance is indescribable; however, this column will attempt to inform you about the creative force of energy that is an AudioBody show.
But here is one undeniable description of what occurred when AudioBody performed at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall for junior high students in mid-December — audience members responded with enthusiastic delight.
Brothers Matthew and Jason Tardy, sort of a modern tech version of the Smothers Brothers with their constant barrage of brotherly banter, have invented and built the battery of equipment used in their show and written all the music which drives the action on stage. That action includes but is not limited to amusing physical comedy, amazing contortionist moves, and world-class juggling; but that list in no way sums up what occurs on stage in an AudioBody performance.
While one brother plays the brilliantly lighted instrument of his own invention, the other moves in mysterious ways, contorting his frame to achieve amazing feats including passing his entire body through a string-less tennis racquet and leaving his audience gasping in amazement. AudioBody enlists members of the audience to assist them in their antics, some of whom are transformed into a musical instrument that one of the brothers plays. They choreograph a dance of color-changing light, the lighting instruments themselves assuming depth and breadth as they rapidly move about the stage and are skillfully tossed like juggler’s pins. They effortlessly juggle balls that, as part of another musical invention had just been used to play “Chopsticks,” move on to engage in a laser-sword fight, then close by creating designs and illusions with a brilliantly glowing rope.
One observer has written that AudioBody is what happens when creativity collides with technology and takes the form of spectacle. During all of the above-noted action, creative energy spectacularly surged around the auditorium, inspiring students to tap into their own creativity. That inspiration was reinforced when the Tardy brothers urged their audience to not be afraid of making mistakes.
“We often end up on stage wondering why we thought this would work,” they intone. But they forge ahead anyway, risking failure; when a plan fails, the intrepid entertainers look at why it didn’t succeed, then go back to work, sometimes failing over and over again before achieving a successful result. Although adults may speculate about what it would have been like to parent these casually energetic artists who were always learning something new and unafraid to risk failure as they were growing up, their message urging youngsters to work hard to achieve success, to not give up in spite of repeated failed attempts resonates positively with adults and students alike.
Darke County Center for the Arts annually presents performing artists to students in every grade level of all local public schools. The performances by AudioBody embodied the goals DCCA hopes to achieve through these presentations; an appreciation for not only art and music, but also technology and science was inspired and enhanced, and vital life lessons were learned while students were enjoying a really, really good time. Mission accomplished — even though the method of that accomplishment may be almost impossible to describe.