NW New Works Festival at OtB, Weekend 1 Jun 13, 2007

by Tania Kupczak

The NW New Works Festival serves as a joyous reminder that not only does talent abound in the NW, but our community in the form of the incredible On the Boards supports it. This blog concerns Saturday’s Main stage event. I was privileged to help curate the fest, and seeing the artists perform reminded me what a challenge it was to choose from such an embarrassment of riches. The evening began with a personal favorite of mine: Erin Jorgensen. Her lithe marimba playing never fails to penetrate. This time she was mic-ed and proceeded to tell a story from her Eastern Washington childhood, which gave me a chill that still resonates. The spirit of Laurie Anderson seemed to light gently on Jorgensen’s tattooed shoulder as her haunting melody accompanied a tale of a young girl’s vision of the apocalypse. Next, Maika Misumi and her dancers took the stage. This is when I love being so close to the Pacific Rim. How lucky we are to attract artists such as Misumi away from her homeland to make a new artistic home here in Seattle. Her dramatic dance piece, The Wheel of Time, began with four Caucasian women in long, elegant red dresses and tight chignons (all costumes handsomely and thoughtfully executed by Lisa Fouichantine). The dancers walked and moved in formal lines, expertly avoiding one another. Even when two men later joined the women and seemed to fight with one another, the contact (including, seemingly, eye contact) was minimal. A beautiful tree structure upstage augmented the stylized lines of this piece. Gossip tidbit: Maika Misumi’s mother, (a small, elegantly dressed woman, visiting from Japan) was in the audience. After intermission, it was time for the athletic dance of Deborah Wolf’s dancers. All dressed in deep red dance clothes they were red blood cells, bumping and lifting, pushing, pulling, leaning, crashing, running in pairs, or moving as a group, coursing through the veins. This is strictly my own interpretation as it has nothing to do with Deborah Wolf’s own title: Arc Angle Finally, Seattle’s own Implied Violence. When I was three years old, my favorite joke was  “PIE IN THE FACE! ” I still think it’s funny, and now, also meaningful. Implied Violence takes it upon themselves to plunge boring theater into an abyss. Live musicians, live d.j., a clown ensemble downing cake and crashing dishes back up two people desperately trying to understand each other, although, as I.V. note in the program,  “to understand is to lie ”. One more note of interest, if you retire to the Sitting Room when you come to see the second weekend of this North West Arts Extravaganza, no matter how much you love cucumber, the cucumber martini will gag you. -SJ Chiro