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Review 1, 11-14: Ich Bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe Eingestellt
Falling with Scott Rink
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2002 Chris Dohse
NEW YORK -- Scott Rink
has created a mature, singular style, and is an assured director,
combining human movement with elegant dancing as an extension of
that humanity. His strong theatrical images bring to mind works
as dissimilar as those of Bebe Miller and Kriota Wilberg. Within
the decrepit but somehow wonderful space of the American Theater
of Actors on 54th Street Tuesday, Rink presented two dance plays,
one a premiere, "Seductions of the Desert," and one from last year,
"On His Deathbed, Holding Your Hand." Rink has adapted both from
unlikely sources for dance material, odd literary shorts.
I don't know which is
more amazing: that Rink has found a partner (Lenna Parr) who is
as tall as he is, or that she embodies his vocabulary so fully.
"Seductions" is a showcase for Parr. Her foolish heroine, Karen,
has trouble separating fantasy from reality. She's a middle-aged
also-ran in the game of life, and the object of her affection, danced
by Rink, is an untrustworthy drifter. Their imaginary romance, adapted
from a short story by Tim O'Brien, plays out against a landscape
of Mexican desert and supporting characters, inmates of a retirement
home, all impeccably portrayed by Rink's fine ensemble cast.
As O'Brien's narrative
unfolds, solos for Parr are interspersed with sections of spoken
text, pedestrian activity by the chorus of retirees, and duets for
Parr and Rink. Parr captures effortlessly Rink's long, elegant line
and specific gesture. A seated duet has the polished unison of Broadway.
Dancing is used to illuminate character and text. Later, Rink and
Kevin Scarpin burst into a short, athletic duet as things begin
to look a bit dire for Karen. Throughout, Rink's simultaneously
angular and fluid qualities, clarity and delicacy of form, perfectly
matched by his dancers, unfold the awkward, unresolved elements
of the story.
"On His Deathbed" takes
place against a disturbing mise en scene. A dying man narrates his
hatred for his only son. Within an eerie, expressionistic hospital
set, Rink dances the son at several stages of life, while Steve
Anderson lies propped up in bed, visually standing in for Victor
Truro's evocative narration of the father's thoughts, taken from
a play by David Foster Wallace. Scott Marshall's unnerving score
combines the B-movie horror of "Eraserhead" with Strauss's sublime
"Wiegenlied" and one of the most unheimlich recordings of all time,
William Burroughs drunkenly slurring "Ich Bin von Kopf bis Fuss
auf Liebe Eingestellt."
As the sickly son in
toddlerhood, Rink is creepy, lactescent and scrofulous in an extended
solo atop a stool, wearing Tomoko Naka's skin-like body suit. Wallace's
powerful, complicated language batters and flows over the scene.
Rink creates an extreme, pretzelly movement language to reveal the
primordial moment. A duet for Rink, possibly now the father as a
young man, dancing with Parr as the mother/wife, uncannily juxtaposed
against Burroughs, fills my eyes with tears.
"Seductions of the Desert"
continues through Saturday.
Choreographer Chris Dohse is senior critic for The Dance Insider,
and has also contributed to the Village Voice, New York Times, and
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