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Flash Review 2, 4-10:
O'Connor's Grinning Biopsy of America
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2000 Chris Dohse
I ran into Aislinn MacMaster
and Marta Miller, two dancer friends, on my way to Dance Theater
Workshop Saturday night. When I told them I was going to see Tere
O'Connor's "Hi Everybody!", Aislinn said, "Oh, I love Greg!" and
Marta said, "No, I love Greg!"
Well, step aside sisters,
because now I love Greg. And Marc, and Chrysa, and Heather, and
Rob, and Nancy--the whole gang (Greg Zuccolo, Marc Kenison, Chrysa
Parkinson, Rob Besserer, Heather Olson and Nancy Bannon). Their
gorgeous performances fit O'Connor's material like six magical glass
slippers, and pack a stunning, cumulative wallop like cotton candy
dipped in acid.
I was underwhelmed by
O'Connor's 1998 "House," also at DTW, which seemed like a string
of setups with no punchline. Maybe its constant state of anticipation
left me too irritated. "Hi Everybody!" distills O'Connor's mixture
of text and movement into a "theater of the obvious" with gloves
removed and fangs bared. Skittering on a razor's edge of hysteria,
the cast singsongs through a snaggle of vignettes that summon a
reality about as cheerful as, "Hey! Every American over 30 has cancer!
You can try to bury your heads in the sand but your shovel is broke!"
Topical themes like gay-bashing
and our diseased healthcare system locate the text in the Y2K-USA
era, but characters like Zuccolo's heartbreaking "Poetry Boy" rip
universal scabs off timeless inner wounds. The piece isn't completely
a talkfest; when the six dance, they reveal that O'Connor has mastered
more dancemaking skills than most choreographers attempt. He fractures
and reverberates phrasework with glee, even poking fun at his own
bag of tricks and treats.
The three female dancers
ask the three males at one point, "Do you fags have a sarcastic
comment about everything?" Girls, I'm here to tell you that the
answer is yes--only sometimes we keep it to ourselves. Perhaps O'Connor's
stir-fry of text, movement and song hasn't yet thickened into its
final form, but "Hi Everybody!"'s style-not-yet-named nuzzles the
fraud of America like a grinning biopsy, leaving its audience laughing
all the way to the morgue.
"Hi Everybody!" continues
Thursdays through Saturdays, through April 23. For more information,
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