Pivot's grand sea of unmanifested emotion Oct 25, 2012

by Ben Rapson

I'll be brief: after a few years of seeing Kidd Pivot's productions at On The Boards, I can officially confirm that there simply is no feeling like the rush of deep peace and joy while witnessing Crystal Pite's openly expressive choreography. This production, The Tempest Replica, is a grand undertaking: a hasty and wildly creative retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest, told through animated movement not unlike European mime (the kind you want to offer money, not the kind you want to punch). But in the same way that Pivot's Dark Matters tore down the artifice after its first act, this show sheds its superficial layers (roughly) halfway through, revealing the show I really came to see: a grand sea of unmanifested emotion.

Crystal Pite has a brilliant mind for theatrical hypnosis, which she utilizes in the first half to give you context, and in the second half to crack your ribs open and give your heart a much-needed massage. I can't even recall much of the specific choreography that her 7-person cast moves through in the second half of the show...because I was in a state of infantile meditation. I felt so connected to the human experience that I lost the distinction between presentation and representation.

Coming home to my wife, I could have spent quite a while explaining the awesome rain/wind effects, or the benefit of masking all characters but Prospero in the first half of the show. But instead I tried to explain Pite's choreography, the twisting and pulling and pushing and clinging and dragging and thrusting...It's very hard to find words for what clearly has moved beyond the world of words. Kidd Pivot comes to Seattle to point a bold finger in a bold direction, and I won't waste time looking at the finger - I'm looking where they're pointing.