ESPEJO BLANCO (WHITE MIRROR)
nytheatre.com review by Pamela Butler
Espejo Blanco/White Mirror at University Settlement is the vision
of Meredith Nadler, an American who has spent time in Mexico City and
felt the realities of those living there— up close. She and her Terra
Danza Teatro collaborators—Mexican actors, puppeteers, musicians, and a
poet—present the great city's transition from ancient to modern times
through dance and the spoken word.
August 15, 2002
For those of you who follow any of the "Survivor" shows so popular on TV, this is an experience for you. You may be asked to participate in a game of survival, meaning you may be asked to physically get on the stage and play a game of life or death. Sound interesting? It definitely is. My companions and I did it, and, fortunately, we lived to tell the story.
Espejo Blanco opens in an incense-smoky darkness with a plaintive song and haunting music from native instruments that suggest an ancient culture in close relation to nature. The sounds shriek and whistle with a kind of jungle rawness as the lights gradually illuminate the body of a man, naked, smooth-skinned and supple, head bowed and seated with his back to us. We contemplate the slow-motion movement of all his finely wrought musculature. It suggests birth, struggle, emergence.
There is a magnificent white-cloaked apparition of larger-than-life proportion that appears and approaches an altar; the dance of a god.
The performance progresses to the present and the incursion of cultures north and west. The music becomes bulldozers, jackhammers, tanks and gunfire, traffic. A man, a woman, a god all try to make their way, treading thin lines of survival, dealing with change and its disruption and danger to their existence.
The dancers are passionate and expert—beautiful to watch. My only complaints are that at times the dialogue is drowned out by the music—a simple adjustment, and that the transitions from dance to dialogue are rough. Those minor problems aside, Espejo Blanco is an unforgettable experience.