‘The Jason Helfgott Experience’ – When A Movement Artist Doesn’t Move

By Ernest Kearney  —  Lean and long-limbed Jason Helfgott bills himself as a “movement artist,” and his ‘experience” is a Gordian knot of concise physical renderings to the medley of musical artists from the Deftones to Metallica, which he opens with a pronouncement from the Pet Shop Boys: “They say the dead can dance – well so can I.”

There is an undeniable commitment in Helfgott’s performance that validates him as a “movement artist.” But that commitment does not elevate what one is viewing in the performance.     

What those in the audience are left to resolve on their own is if they perceive a manifest purpose in what Helfgott is presenting. 

In our world lurking beneath a plethora of terminology—minimalism, modernism, transgressionism, quantum futurism—one encounters plain-wrapped feculence daily.

Now I do not accuse Helfgott of this, but his performance appeared to me devoid of purpose, either that or he failed in communicating his purpose to me.

Towards the conclusion of his piece, a late-arriving audience member is reluctantly trammeled into performing with him.  Their disconnection is disquieting, confronting the isolation between the two where unity is expected.  This moment, however, that seemed to convey Helfgott’s intention was too late and too brief.

One feels that Helfgott just wanted to do a Fringe show and came to the stage with that as his only “purpose.”

But it’s the purpose within a performance, that reason why a performer felt that an audience would be better, the world would be better for seeing what he has created that distinguishes artistry from mere activity.


The Jason Helfgott Experience is on stage for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2023
the Broadwater in Hollywood.

For Hollywood Fringe Festival Details, Jason Helfgott Experience Show Information, and Tickets Click HERE.


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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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