“He is not a Man” opens with a photomontage and a live narration about a respectable man who grew up in the farms of Ukraine. This man became a hero and was rewarded because he courageously rescued the Czar’s children from being massacred by a wolf. The ramification of these events three generations ago is revealed to the audience as Bryan Zanisnik’s autobiographical docudrama performance unfolds on stage.
In the next scene, the drums crescendoed, audibly introducing the boxing referee, and two fighters—a man and a wolf. Let’s get ready to rumble! In a smoke filled room and referee’s spit in the ring, fists flew, trainers cursed, audience screamed and waved American flags. Both fighters fought for their lives. What a match! The lights dim, the wolf walks away from the ring, and the audience chants, “he’s not a man”.
The underlying elements of this performance strongly resonate, heroism, masculinity, immigration, and class distinction. The ambiguity lies in the oscillation of the past and reflection of the present. History does not change, but history changes us. Bryan Zanisnik’s piece, “He is not a Man” invites the audience to have courage and seek out the past in an effort to demystify genealogical legends. This undertaking leads to discovering deeper layers of identity.
“He is not a Man” is a performance piece by Bryan Zanisnik. The performers include Bryan Zanisnik as the boxer, Dave Suter as the wolf, Ryan Saylor as the referee, and Eric Winkler and Randall Miller as trainers. Bob Carlton hails from Philadelphia and provided the music. The performance was approximately 20 minutes. The video piece edited with the photomontage was on MiniDV format.
Bryan Zanisnik is from New Jersey and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently enrolled in MFA Program at Hunter College. Some of the most recent places he has exhibited are Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, Moment Art, Art Omi (summer residency), Jersey City Museum, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art.If you are intrigued, please visit his website and drop him a line about the next tour date of the match. Please visit www.zanisnik.com.