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Flash Review 3, 9-9: Candy Boxes and P-Power
Fun and Fantasy with Chremos and Dellecave

By Anne-Marie Mulgrew
Copyright 2000 Anne-Marie Mulgrew

PHILADELPHIA -- Several flights up a narrow staircase, the audience is greeted by the faux muscle woman ticket taker and led into the Actors' Center, a very intimate black box space that seats approximately forty people. The stage is a tiny 10 by 20 feet, raised two feet off the floor with two black curtains with entrances from the audience or behind, preset with a portable sound system on a red cutout rug and assorted costumes -- a short white tutu, silver-gold Barbie doll platform heels and a shocking green stretchy outfit. There are no paper programs. Jessica Dellecave, sporting six-inch blue eyelashes, welcomes us and announces the order: Asimina Chremos's solo improvisation "Jewel Candy Box Box Box," a pause, and "The Perils of P Power."

Prior to moving to Chicago, local wonder Asimina Chremos's rep was that of the "Bad Girl of Ballet," wowing Philadelphia audiences with her fearless technique, outrageous costumes and eyebrow-raising female archetypes as subject matter. Bare-footed Chremos, stunning in a tall black pointed-at-the-top witch-like Elizabethan hat, a long black see-through (to white underpants) net tutu and jet black bustiere, dances and slowly removes feathers stuffed in her bra as an aria plays. I notice every muscle in her taut spine rippling against the billowing feathers, head circling slowly, arm joints released to the fingertips, chest extended, legs carving space. Red, black, and white feathers hover and fall like memories. She jumps (headpiece almost touching the ceiling), dives into the floor, and pauses, surrounded by a sea of feathers. Her dancing becomes more furious, almost possessed. She smiles -- or should I say, mischievously grins. We hear "one charming night gives more delight..... than 100 lucky days."

Costume and music change. Chremos picks up a silver bodice with a built-in six pack, a short white puffy tutu, silver crown and bra. Her blue-green hair is tied into a Pebbles-like short ponytail. Waving a bone/wand over her head, she dons pointe shoes and proceeds to stab the floor, bouree, echappe -- fiercely, savagely, relentlessly deconstructing ballet, alternating between roles of warrior, queen, fairy, bird, goddess and huntress, a real one-of-a-kind wunderkind. She jumps in parallel position, heels touching her tutu, and lands hard on the tips of her toes. She sings: "She's a pretty bird. She brings us glad tidings...and tells us no lies...sucks on pretty flowers to make voice clear."

Part strip tease, part functional, Chremos dons an electric blue leotard with two foot tassels, neon green spandex pants and shirt. She pulls the tassels through her armpits (play on hairy armpits, seduction?), removes pointe shoes. Surreal blue-green shoulder length hair loose, she begins an expressive dance -- arms swinging wildly, juicy releases onto the floor, low turns. She falls into a wonderful one shoulder/ear balance, picks up the bone/wand with her teeth, and recovers, stroking her right hand down her face from her forehead to her chin. Here, Chremos reminds me of a Cirque du Soleil character -- an impish, animated trickster. Just as one wonders what more can come out of the "Jewel Candy Box Box Box," Chremos places an orange red knit cap with wings on her head and the lights dim.

Jessica Dellecave's campy "The Perils of P Power" features three main characters: Nancy Golike as Pagan Oregana, Patricia Graham as the Sheep Catcher and Jessica Dellecave as Pasta Girl. This in-your-face cartoonish narrative revolves around the femme forces here to save the day, the planet or themselves.

Scene one opens with redhead Nancy Golike in a lush green velvet tunic and black shin length boots, kneeling on the floor. Crumbling large pieces of tissue paper on either side are what appears to be plastic vines. A voice says, "I am sympathetic to all destroyed by nature." Golike wraps the vines into the tissue paper, sprinkling glitter on top. Is she rolling a joint, making a hoagie, creating a magic potion? Enter blonde-haired Graham, in a ridiculous short turquoise, black, silver, and white outfit, with black shin-height boots, thighs bare. Think cartoon action heroes. A phone rings. Golike and Graham deliciously run in slow motion. They strike fisted poses, swivel hips, strut, give attitude, strike hilarious quasi-muscle stances, and dance together and apart. I notice Graham's costume has these funny eyes (animal) on her breasts that move as she moves. The audience is hooting, engaged. The story eludes me. I hear repeatedly the words: "Constant Objectification."

Golike and Graham need assistance to fight this menace, "Constant Objectification." By this time they have run in slow motion to the wall, sliding down and using the wall for support. They talk about "dicing, chopping, frying, roasting, boiling, slaving all day over a big hot stove" and call on Pasta Girl. Dark-haired Dellecave energetically charges onto the stage (quite a vision to behold) with six- inch blue eyelashes, painted breast with stars over her nipples and very short tight red spandex pants with a P on them. The plot thickens. I remember Pasta Girl lying on the floor like a sheep, feet stuck up in the air and Graham singing in a fabulous voice, "All day long I'm counting sheep." It's so spoofy I can't describe it. Something about a sheep kicking her (Graham) in the face. The two-foot joint shape prop reappears. Graham uses it as a wand to create a spell to unstick Pasta Girl. It doesn't work. Graham and Golike mouth words. Pasta Girl is still lying on the floor on her back with her feet facing the ceiling. Curling finger by finger, Golike takes the prop, does a graphic dance, places it between her legs, shakes her hips, and savagely rips it to expose a red clump that turns into a baby doll. The red material and baby are placed between Pasta Girl's legs. Lights out. The audience roars and Dellecave tongue-in-cheek "thanks everybody for coming." On the way out, the audience can buy P-Power underpants or tee-shirts.

This split bill is performed again tonight and Monday at 8:30 PM, and tomorrow at 6 PM and 8:30 PM.

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