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Flash Review 2, 1-15:
ChameckiLerner Hard to Hold
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2001 Chris Dohse
evening-length work, "Poor Reality," which opened Friday at the
Joyce, might be a kind of diary. The piece's compartmentalized,
separate movement entries query the boundaries between self and
self image. Its highly structured, limited lexicon of mannerisms
asks more than it answers.
Two plexiglas sheets
are hung across the stage space, simultaneously transparent and
reflective. Their surfaces amplify the initial activity of four
female dancers, who cross and recross behind and between the panels,
using an awkward, hip-thrust walking pattern. The dancers are clad
in simple black dresses, with rags tied around their heads marking
them as hausfraus or as inmates in a cancer ward. They explore the
limits of their environment while their pelvises collapse into twitch-steps.
Dusty Trails' score propels them.
The episode ends, followed
by others, equally dispassionate, equally bloodless. In stark light,
their headgear now looking like bathing caps, the dancers (Rosane
Chamecki, Maria Hassabi, Christina Latici, and Andrea Lerner) become
crotch-open arachnids or shuddering caryatids. They dance a language
of semaphore and gibberish. They engage in slap-and-tickle silhouetted
counterbalance duets. They repeat their travelling pattern.
The piece feels blunt
and rough-edged. At 55 minutes, the work doesn't quite have enough
in it for an entire concert, and if shortened, its images would
clarify. The stop-and-start transitions become monotonous. There's
real virtuosity in the performances, all immaculately stuck in such
a narrow stylistic vocabulary. In a way, this post-Guerilla Girl
sparseness is over-uglified, overly inscrutable, and leaves the
viewer with nothing to hold onto. Perhaps speaking to a certain
Millennial angst, "Poor Reality" is sobering indeed.
"Poor Reality" is performed
again Thursday and Friday, at 8 p.m. For more information, please
visit the Joyce web site.
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