at Sixes & Sevens
nytheatre.com review by Leslie Bramm
March 11, 2011
Chloe Kernaghan uses the archetype of the 1950s housewife as her central character. Her husband has left her, the illusion of a life is caving in, and thus begins her journey of self-realization. Kernaghan explains her particular style of creation in program notes. She comes up with a concept, then collaborates with designers and performers. At Sixes and Sevens is the speedy outcropping of such a collaboration. Some of Kernaghan’s choreography is clever. Some of it funny, all of it is well danced. Narrative is not the focus of her work, but the cycle of the self that begins and ends anew is the stated destination.
Not being from a dance background I will give you my very lay opinion. The choreography worked best for me when it was able to balance the blend of what looked like classic dance moves with a more quirky, rhythmic jerk of bodies. There are compelling moments, they’re just not put together in a clear enough progression.
The dancers' performances are earnest and committed. It’s their enthusiasm that charged up the sold-out audience. When they danced they had fun, and so did we. Matthew Connolly, Kanoa Goo, Chloe Kernaghan, Rachel Korenstein, Khloe Sunga, and Caitlin Yuhas are all excellent. They take turns conveying the emotions of our wounded protagonist.
Kudos to the set design, though no name credit is given. Rainbow colored ribbons of what looked like crepe paper drape from ceiling to floor. A wall of deer heads (real ones) give the room a Lion’s Club kind of feeling. A row of gilded chairs are used effectively, and a disco ball never lets you down.
The sound design serves its purpose. Ultimately the music feels a bit random. It doesn’t do much to forward the story in any clear way. And, oh, how I longed for a Chuck Berry song.
It seems the idea/style of the piece may have been partially inspired by something like Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out, which centers around one musician, whose songs tell a linear story. Kernaghan explains a lot in her program notes. I would have preferred to see more of that on stage. At Sixes and Sevens has enough detail to give it character, but not enough to make Kernaghan’s ultimate point, and bring us to a self-actualized place.