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Flash Review, 3-16:
Breaking Beyond Circus Tricks
By Angela Jones
Copyright 2001 Angela Jones
Chelsea Bacon is onto
something. Physical virtuosity that is successfully integrated into
a dramatic story is a rare accomplishment, but there are no wasted
movements in "Breaker," playing at Dixon Place this and next weekend.
What makes this aerial fairy tale particularly captivating is that
Bacon & Co. do not rely on the aerial work (which employs everything
from ropes to fabric and trapeze to hoop -- even a hanging chair)
to hold the audience's attention. Every physical feat moves the
narrative along, and every character has her own particular way
of moving through the air.
"Breaker" flows along
so smoothly that one can miss the close attention paid to all the
artistic aspects of this work. Live music sung and played by Rachelle
Garniez and company (written by Franz Nicolay) is as varied as the
scenes, playful and funny, poignant or mystical. The set and lights
by Kyle Chepulis open up the tiny space of the Vineyard 26 theater,
leaving no bit of air or ground unexplored. Especially delightful
are the costumes by Kiva Kahl and Britt Nhi Sarah, allowing each
aerialist to transform completely from staid townsperson to Bohemian
Considering all the technical
aspects of this show (the raising and lowering of apparatuses, the
work with live musicians, the constant changing of costumes), that
the transitions happen as easily as they do is a tribute to all
involved. "Breaker" is not a completely neat little package, however.
My companion commented that although it ended in an almost predictable
manner, there were enough quirky moments (like the devilish little
ditty about one circus person's desire to snack on babies, or the
crush a townie has on a circus girl) and plot tangents to keep the
In the end, it isn't
really the story itself which seems paramount, but rather the passion,
skill and artistry underneath it. Even if I hadn't had the pleasure
of collaborating artistically with Chelsea, I know that from the
audience's reaction alone, it is evident how purposeful each trick,
wink of the eye, lyric, or sigh really is.
"Breaker" will be performed
again this and next Friday at 8 p.m., and this and next Saturday
at 3 and 8 p.m. The Vineyard is located at 309 East 26th Street.
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