featured photo

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash Review 1, 5-20: Shemad
Women Bearing Demons at P.S. 122

By Tamieca McCloud
Copyright 2000 Tamieca McCloud

Intricate, lyrical, complex -- qualities in women too often boxed and labelled "madness" when we are too afraid to look deeper. Cynthia Oliver's "Shemad," seen last night at P.S. 122, beautifully and painfully portrays the physical affectations and vocal outbursts of emotional disturbance. Ms.Oliver's group of "madwomen" took the audience on a trip that brought with it images we often try so hard to pretend don't affect us -- are not a part of us. The very real images of women bearing demons.

At times the ensemble moved together, seeming comrades or acquaintances in shared experiences. In other moments, they were separate and critical. In those instances, there came to light a difference in one that enabled the others to separate themselves -- to pretend they did not share her level of madness. The accompanying text made you take a second look at each woman and reconsider your initial reaction to her outburst. To consider the source of her madness.

Most memorable was a double-duet entitled, "The Washing," performed by Ms. Oliver, Renee Redding-Jones, Melissa Wynn, and Cynthia Bueschel. This section provided a moment which was incredibly tender, and simply lovely. Ms. Oliver gathered a strong ensemble for this work, including herself, the women mentioned above, and Rhetta Aleong. Visually these women were very different and each managed to command attention in a way which complimented each other and the work rather than distracted.

Also to be noted is the music accompanying "Shemad," created and performed live by the trio Straylight. They did a great job of presenting music which was neither lost nor overwhelming. It was very much a natural part of the performance. "Shemad" continues through tomorrow at P.S. 122. For more information, go to www.ps122.org or click on the P.S. 122 ad on our Home page.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home