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Flash Review 2, 5-16: Looking for Mr. Black and Mr. Beige
Blankert Casts Spell on Male Hunt-and-Peck

By Chris Dohse
Copyright Chris Dohse 2000

Beppie Blankert's "Dubbelspoor" tells the story of Mr. Black and Mr. Beige. Maybe they are two halves of the same guy, maybe they are the one wanted and the one who wants. Placing them on West 19th Street of Manhattan in the year 2000 casts a double spell on the masculine hunt-and-peck happening throughout that neighborhood to be sure.

The stage setup allows an ingenious visual ventriloquism. I won't ruin its surprises by describing it ("Dubbelspoor" runs May 16-21 at Dance Theatre Workshop, which is co-presenting it with Danspace Project, before appearing at Jacob's Pillow in July). Time drips with gravity in the existential railway station where the men wait, two in the flesh, two on video monitors. Trains pass and pass without stopping. The men speak Beckett while signaling through Artaudian flames. The piece's original 1987 incarnation might have resounded with end-of-millenium anxiety; now it suggests renewal, as Mr. Beige recites, "I've nothing to fear, my ticket is valid for life."

Layer within layer of watcher and reflection implicate the audience as John Taylor and Christopher Steel capture Blankert's vocabulary in translucent clarity -- with phrasework and partnering that is athletic, competitive, communicative, complicated, and detailed. When the live bodies achieve synchrony with their video shadows, we are reminded to collect our thoughts, for the unexpected is always upon us.

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