I do not believe there has ever been a more aptly named production than the one that was performed at the Dobama Theater Complex last night. Titled “Not What I Expected (Dances of Ages, Stages and Rages)”, the featured body of work (presented by The Inspired Body) had a duo meaning. The subject matter was that of one’s dealing with the changes that happen as we reach various milestones in our lives. The other inadvertent meaning was the delighted reaction of the audience as they realized that this was not going to be your average cut and dried contemporary dance work.
The first work, titled “Within” that was choreographed and danced by Heather Koniz (Music: Break of Reality, Costume Courtesy of Joan Meggitt) made use of a bench and chair (with shirt draped over the back) as props. Heather did not dance as much as flow over the floor, around and on the bench and over and into the chair. To my eye it was a tale of longing and regret as the finale had her caressing the shirt against her cheek.
“private dominion” was next on the bill and featured a piece that was choreographed and danced by Kimberly Karpanty (Music: “Intro” and The Pilot” by Swod). The work starts with Kimberly upside down on a wooden chair with legs and arms outstretched. What followed was a wild dance that seemed to reflect the inner struggles of a schizophrenic as they struggle to gain some semblance of control over their faculties. At least that is what I gathered from it, but I may be wrong.
Next on the bill was the surprise of the evening. “Falling For Prepositions” that was written, choreographed and performed by Claire Porter. Claire plays a librarian holding a symposium at the local library where they have invited a noted soprano (played by Marla Berg) to sing selections of songs made up entirely of prepositions. As Marla raises the roof with her voice, Claire goes into wild interpretive dances. Between “numbers” Claire tells tales of the raging love affair that she had with the composer of the “songs” and her life with “the genius”. It had the audience in stitches. This was laugh out loud funny.
After a short intermission, the show began anew with the work “She Three” which had concept, choreography, costumes and original text by Tracy Pattison (who also was the dancer for the piece). It is taken from the play “Three Tall Women by Edward Albee. Direction assistance was by Leighann DeLorenzo. The piece is divided into three segments plus a finale. It is the story in prose and dance of one person who appears as three women of different ages (20, 50 and 80) with the question “How did I get here? This is not what I expected!”
Leighann DeLorenzo plays the twenty year old. Valerie Ryan plays the fifty year old and Linda Ryan plays the eighty year old. They discuss their life’s’ journey and after the conclusion of each segment (“Friction Burns”, “Rather Than Appear Rude” and “REM ember”) Tracy Pattison comes on stage to dance.
It was a powerful work that asks questions that most people do not take the time to ask themselves. We are all collections of past experiences (whether we admit it or for that matter remember them). Our current reaction to stimulus is a direct result of what we have been conditioned to by our past personal history. This is why different people react differently to the same situations (case in point, I am sure that many audience members will disagree on my interpretations of the evening performance due to this reason). It was indeed food for thought.
Last night’s performance was the first of three dates for this show at the Dobama Theatre. You can catch the show tonight (June 21) and tomorrow (June 22) at 8:00 p.m. as for the cast and crew of this show all that I can say is to keep tabs on future developments by this talented group of women. I am sure that there are more artistic endeavors in the future. While I may not have understood all that was presented I was entertained and give this performance a solid four stars out of five.
Tickets are $18/16 for adults/seniors and $10 for students with ID and may be purchased through the Dobama Theatre by calling (216) 932. 3396 or purchased on line at dobama.org.