DARCIE DENNIGAN / KATE COLBY
“Completist Panic” was an interpretation of Kate Colby’s book-length poem “I Mean.” Because the poem is obsessed with recursion, fractals, self-reflexivity, scale, perception, and doubleness, before the actual show began, we had polaroid cameras with which the performers took mise en abyme photos of audience members. We also had free donuts (a pastry made in the spirit of feedback and eternal return). Finally, we had a live Google doc on the screen and audience people finished the sentence “I mean…”
Then, four women spoke Colby’s words, overlapping and interrupting and repeating each other. In the performance, as in the poem, nearly every line began with “I mean.” Colby published her book exactly 100 years after Eliot published Prufrock, with its famous lament, “It is impossible to say just what I mean!” Where Prufrock hedges and revels in indecision, Colby’s poem, to us, was about precision.