Saturday started back in the Marigny Opera House with the most intellectually challenging and avant-garde piece I’ve seen so far, and ended up at the Michalopoulos Studio at one of the Fringe after parties. Unfortunately, I had work to do Sunday morning, so my party-time was cut short. Since I don’t have class on Monday, maybe I can make up for it tonight.
Everyone walking into this show is invited to down a shot of whisky with an actor who serves as emcee. This piece, by the Buran Theatre, is dense with references to art, literature, modern society, and technology, but definitely not in the linear storytelling mode. It’s central image, projected onto a backdrop behind the actors is Henry Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare. Through a series of scene, both modern and historic, dramatic and comic, it questions whether modern society is equipped to handle experiences that can’t be packaged into a talk show or an Instagram. I found the show interesting, but also wished some of the connections between segments were stronger.
This piece weaves two parallel stories, a romantic breakup and a family’s escape from Stalin-era Ukraine with dance, song, photographs, and a completely adorable stop-motion film. Both stories have compelling moments, though the dramatic weight of the Ukrainian genocide ultimately makes the romance seem less important. I liked both halves of the show, but I don’t think putting them together as one was the right dramatic choice.
The dancers of the Gris Gris Strut are on display in this high-energy dance performance, which tells a sort-of Alice in Wonderland tale of a put-upon waitress who ends up being mugged and knocked out in City Park, only to wake up to a variety of dancing animals, including jitterbugging raccoons, krumping squirrels and African-Dancing roosters. I’m pretty sure everyone walked out of this show with a smile on their face.
My final show of the night was another dance piece, but this one was very much in the modern dance tradition. I very much enjoyed the presentation of the dance. Instead of isolating the audience in the traditional manner, by putting the dancers on a stage, in Colony, dancers Kelly Bond and Melissa Krodman perform in the midst of the audience. With hypnotic, beat-heavy trance music, they are a compelling duo.
I had the good fortune to run into the Happenstance Theatre troupe from Cabaret Macabre at the Colony performance, so I was able to gush to them in person about how much I’d enjoyed their show. Lots of the performers also show up at the after-parties, so those are a great opportunity to pay your respects to them directly if you don’t mind staying up into the wee hours of the morning.