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Flash Review 3, 9-25:
Hurlin Finds 'Uses' for Inanimate Objects
By Susan Yung
Copyright 2000 Susan Yung
In "Everyday Uses for
Sight: Nos. 3 & 7," Dan Hurlin created a daisy chain of incisively
poignant, poetic moments, reaching the heart of each member of the
sold-out audience at Saturday evening's performance at The Kitchen.
The two pieces on the
program, both accompanied by live original music, each hung loosely
on thematic hooks. "No. 3: 'The Home of Bill and Sandy Kelly,'"
with a sax score by Dan Froot played by Roy Nathanson, referred
to architecture, voyeurism, and personal identity. The main set
piece was a scale model of a perfectly tacky split level suburban
house whose various parts revealed the expected (martinis, t.v.)
or detached to become something else (the shutters becoming a clubhouse.)
Hurlin, through monologue, spun stories of his childhood and adolescence
spent basking in the glow of the Kellys and their house, and told
of his desires both romantic and from a design standpoint. The charismatic
sax music by Froot enhanced the anomie of the suburban setting.
A small diorama downstage
contained a puppet of Hurlin at 10 years old, manipulated simply
from behind with rods or strings. It was joined by another puppet
depicting an architectural historian obsessed with preserving the
work of architect Louis Sullivan. These puppets were used sparingly
and effectively, their scenes mixed in with Hurlin's stories and
ramblings by another iteration of Hurlin as a young man, played
by Christopher Williams. The combination of actors, set pieces,
musicians, and puppets made a surprisingly cohesive structural concatenation.
"No. 7: 'The Heart of
the Andes,'" with music written and performed by accordionist Guy
Klucevsek, who plays a blind man, makes evident Hurlin's love for
visual art. Using boxes that opened to reveal additional props or
miniature paintings, frames and artworks suspended and layered,
and other set pieces containing magical little devices, the piece
was like an irresistible pop-up book for grown ups. And Hurlin's
train of thought was literally manifested visually, linking chapter
to chapter with elegant connectors. Klucevsek's accordion music
captivated -- it was whimsical, enchanting, and haunting.
"Everyday Uses," while
not technically dance, was a thoroughly entertaining, physical performance.
The level of Hurlin's craft -- from the manufacture of props to
the surgically precise, intricate movements he followed to breathe
life into his fragile, inanimate objects -- combined with his confident
comic persona to outright charm the audience. He makes wonderful
theater, plain and simple.
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