NW New Works Main stage Jun 12, 2011

by Eric Pitsenbarger

Surfacing, Chapter2

Tonight's Mainstage showcase begins with an impossibly stuffed backpack strapped to the solitary, slim silhouette of a lonely hiker. Ropes and hooks dangling, it looks as if it's rigged for deep cave diving. The projected, endless horizon interrupted by a forbidding mountain a nice visual echo to the burden of equipment and against the empty desert further distances us from the world at large. We are impossibly small in the face of nature; and the notion of being prepared for anything, of being lost or having taken oneself away along a walkabout into the landscape of story. A serene composition upon which to unfold a remarkable tale.

The vaguely bluesy tune sung is soon revealed to be Holcombe Waller himself, under that hoody and impossible backpack. His beautiful high voice tells us the unique incident of his famous theatrical grandmother and her association with communist / activist Dorothy Day and candidate for Sainthood...the letter from Pope Benedict XV1, marveled at and embraced in a busy New York childhood. There is something so exquisitely precise and deft about this piece. Clean and perfectly rounded, with a delicious, arc of a story it's like being captured around the camp-fire, completely imagining the events. We are THERE. 

War is Over

Paige Barnes confronts her multiplying, digitally projected doppelgangers as they continue to appear in ever greater numbers, ganging up and working out against the growl of scratching, dark, dirty noise. Punching and ducking, twisting, bending, the dance of the boxing ring expanded to effect the analogy of war with yourself. Paige finally ends up literally shadow boxing. Who the winner and losers are is uncertain.

By Guess & By God

All lines and graceful folding, Allie Hankins and Mary Margaret Moore's arms, hands, legs and articulated feet point, slice and scoop the air with an origami-like precision. The shapes and emotion evoked are blunted angles, shadows...the impression of something remembered. Soft like a beautiful chiaroscuro, the edge of dark blending into light across the surface of sand. Careful, delicate yet deliberate. Distinct and warm, the feeling of bon ami and good will emanates.

You're the stuff that sets me free

The audience is jolted by prat falling down the steps onto the stage. Jessica Jobaris & General Magic come barreling on shouting and that's the piece. The in-your-face expletives and stomping about. The tossing of garbage, rank and rude vulnerable nudity, violent thrashing, grabbing, slapping, whipping, pushy, purial and ugly mouthing off is a slam of a angry / silly smack-down theater absurd. A big bouncy blow-up beach ball of the earth tossed about and humped. It's the history of the world on crack. Dig it!