the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel
for women and girls. Click here to
see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance
at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews
Flash Review 2, 12-4:
Varone's Secret Stories
Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors
By Susan Yung
Copyright 2000 Susan Yung
Doug Varone has transported
dance theater to a new level with his company's production of "Neither,"
at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum through December 17. Varone,
who directed, wrote and choreographed the work, has created an intensified
performative experience for the audience by not simply casting us
as first-hand witnesses to an unfolding melodrama, but integrating
us into the performance. Seamlessly thought-out and executed, the
production is deeply moving both viscerally and emotionally.
The audience, limited
in size to 20, was led through the building's rabbit warren of tiny,
haunted rooms to the third floor. Largely empty but for some props,
the shabby building exhaled countless tales from its peeling paint
and creaking floorboards, and played a central role in the story.
We were encouraged to move about through the performance -- as close
to or far away from the dancers as we felt comfortable with. As
we entered, two groups of dancers (nine total) stood in silent darkness
for a few moments as we arranged ourselves around them; one group
swayed in tandem in a circle in a private ritual.
Scenes alternated between
dialogue and movement. The small size of the rooms acted as crucibles
for the performers and the viewers, heightening every sensation.
We were often leaned upon by the dancers, or manipulated physically.
The action flowed from room to room, at times very quickly. At certain
moments, through interior picture windows, I was able to watch three
scenes simultaneously by positioning myself properly. As told prior
to curtain, like film directors or cinematographers we were invited
to frame our own versions of the show. While I was acutely aware
of being manipulated on many levels, I felt a liberating sense of
My one regret, in retrospect,
was that the skilled dancers were limited by the cramped spaces.
That never crossed my mind during the show; getting whipped in the
face by Eddie Taketa's perfect hair seemed action enough. Still,
the dancers managed to execute abstracts of Varone's fluid phrases,
mixed in with a good deal of arm and upper body gesture. Some of
the ensemble scenes were bone-chilling at such close proximity.
The story, the secret
of which I'll not divulge, hinged on the superb acting abilities
of the whole cast, but particularly Nancy Bannon, in the process
of being interviewed by Frances Craig, who ingeniously played the
fictional and real stage manager (or at least for certain cues).
Music by Michael Nyman, Charlemagne Palestine, and J.S. Bach created
an aural backdrop and provided some sense of structure and point
of reference. The precise lighting scheme by David Ferri included
exterior spots as well as bare-bulb chandeliers, and Liz Prince
designed the elegant streetwear costumes.
In "Neither," Varone
walks the right side of a fine line between dramatic impetus and
outright manipulation. By neglecting no detail, he has knitted reality
and fiction into a production that seems to have created a new dimension
in contemporary dance.
Dancers were Nancy Bannon,
Frances Craig, Daniel Charon, Larry Hahn, Merceditas Manago, Eddie
Taketa, Adriane Fang, Keith Johnson, and Faye Driscoll.
back to Flash Reviews