posted by laura becker
so…you know that samuel beckett play, where the audience doesn’t know what happened but all the characters are wandering around in a post-apocalyptic world and one or more of them are compulsively and dutifully repeating some ultimately meaningless task?
yeah, that could possibly be any of beckett’s plays, but just imagine it with wally cardona and a copeland-esque score performed by ethel, and a lot of black beams, and you’ve got the picture for “everywhere”.
as usual, i was thinking too hard, trying to figure out what it all meant, so i didn’t pick up on the cues of meaning that were actually there. as my partner and i traveled home i asked him what he thought. even though he’s seen, like a total of three live art events in his life (that i’ve almost had to drag him to) he’s always more perceptive than i am, and i knew that he would’ve been open enough to pick up on more than i could. and he did. “well, at first i thought it was going to be pretty abstract and just sort of silly, but obviously that didn’t wind up being the case”. “no, it didn’t” i agreed. “so, i picked up that the beginning was the birth of industry”, he explained, referencing the carrying of beams and the sobering geometric maze of a set, which was first bathed with a natural warm light that became more severe. “oh, yeah….so do you think the dancers’ movements and contortions, all stretching and flailing, were supposed to be like infantile gestures?” i asked? “yeah, i guess so.” he didn’t explain too much more, but noted that if he went to see it again he only would’ve stayed for the first half, with the live ethel playing the haunting and vast score, before it got to serious and just long. again i agreed with him on that, and the fact that the lighting was excellent.
but…do you really want to come out of a world premiere, highly anticipated, main stage dance performance thinking “man, the lighting was damn fine!”? i’ve been so impressed with the regional works that i’ve seen at TBA – monstersquad and locust, and just let down by the big guns from new york. sure every dancer is excellent and every piece is technically tight, but i can’t walk away satisfied unless watching some one move makes me SMILE. monstersquad enthralled me and locust just delighted me. maybe it’s that in the studio or black box spaces it’s just easier to feel part of it than when you’re in a balcony of a big theatre checking out who’s who in the audience before the lights go down.
the only thing that did get a chuckle was the unfortunate cell phone that went off at the very end of the piece. the music ended, one boombox at a time, and the dancers peered out from the height they had created by building stairs, and the poignant end was reached. and in the silence, a cheesy country digital tune echoed from a cell phone and across the theater. and as we walked out of the theater and towards home and i tried to ponder “everywhere”, i couldn’t get that tune out of my head.