nytheatre.com review by Julie Blumenthal
The props: flowers, brooms, boxes,
shoes, bubble wrap, and those tiny barking dogs street vendors sell. The
set: 6 wooden chairs. The languages: English, German, French. The
musical score ranges from Prokofiev, to Dietrich, to Chevalier; the
cut-up text includes Shakespeare, Madeline L’Engle, and Eastern European
fairytale. G�rung, billed as Expressionist dance theatre,
operates wholeheartedly in the realm of dream logic, where visions,
images, and juxtapositions make inexplicable sense.
August 15, 2003
Choreographer/director Madeline Dahm has formed a solid ensemble (Suzan Averitt, Kryztyna Hughes, Carol Katz, Terril Miller, Denise Pazienti, and Dahm herself), full of wit and unique personalities. Dahm clearly knows what she is about, and the sharpness and precision of her choreography are matched by the company’s execution; mixing movement, text, and irony in equal portions.
The inspired moments are many, largely due to Dahm and company’s ability to subtly locate the tragic in the comic and vice versa. Much like a dream, images, more than an overall gestalt, are what linger: a teetering tower of chairs; a peculiarly riveting chorus line of those tiny barking dogs; a bouquet of flowers being wildly beheaded; an alluring dress; a German soliloquy delivered atop a chair.
The intent of G�rung seems to be to offer a postmodern fairytale for the postmodern female, and I appreciated many of the sly insights into the experience of being a modern woman, from that crushed bouquet to a three-woman struggle with a zipper. However, if there is a greater purpose at work here, it is somewhat vague.
Indeed, if I have any complaint about G�rung, it is only that the parts are, in the end, greater than the whole. The individual moments, most of them well-executed and enjoyable, do not cohere as strongly as they might into a larger event. The piece is at its strongest when it delves into the inarticulate logic of imagination, and makes no attempt to explain (indeed, during one of the sections delivered in French, I found myself having a rarely-experienced moment of wishing I could not understand the dialogue, as the meaning of the words felt distracting). As such, there are a few bits, like the Dietrich section or the extended use of the Witches’ dialogue from Macbeth, which feel overlong or obvious.
G�rung is strong work, and Dahm’s ability to charm and communicate with an audience cannot be underestimated. If she continues to refine and strengthen her vision, G�rung will be very potent stuff indeed.