Ivory Tower or Sagan?
nytheatre.com review by Dianna Tucker Baritot
June 15, 2007
A note of warning: if you are the kind of theatergoer who, like me, tends to rely heavily on a dialogue-rich script (or even a plot) to enjoy a play, then this may not be the production for you.
Then again, maybe it is. As one of the very few lines in the show tells us: "It's experimental disagreement that makes us all open to change." This fresh and irreverent performance piece presented by Movementspants Dance Company consists largely of modern dance and mime: think Mummenschanz sans toilet paper, in Daisy Duke shorts. (Hence, I'm guessing, the name of the dance troupe.) Four performers spend 45 minutes depicting animated scenes about a college lecture, a visit to the doctor's office, and the contemplation of one's index finger.
The piece is performed on a bare stage, and Mandy Hart's lighting design is responsible for setting the scene; a pale blue wash lets us know that an intense magical duel takes place at night. Costumes by Adrienne Hecker are whimsically simple. In fact, the whole piece is whimsically simple and entertaining. Set to Lyle Beers's rhythmic compositions, Adrian Jevicki (in collaboration with his performers, Elodie Escarmelle, Rebecca Ketchum, and Nathan Kosla) provides an hour of fascinating theatre. The dancers are, for the most part, skilled and graceful. But more importantly, they are all utterly committed and earnest in their comedy. They manage, through movement, music, and occasional spoken text, to evoke a series of moods and emotions which give a viewer the sense that a story has been told.
But what's it about? My husband would say it's about 45 minutes long. I would say that it's about college lectures and wet willies. It's about Frisbee and magic duels. It's about a trip to the doctor's office. It's about the human condition. (It's not about people who wear long pants.)
It's about letting go of your preconceived notions of what to expect at a night of festival theatre and having a great time where you didn't expect it. Then again, maybe that's just me.