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    2016-2017 reviews:

  •  REVIEW: ST. PATRICK PAGEANT

    St. Patrick Pageant

    And Pat's not all

    Clare Byrne's "St. Patrick Pageant" goes beyond the legend of the Irish snake-slaying saint to explore love, hate and the ambiguity of intimacy.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    St. Patrick — red-haired, green-clad, and incidentally a woman — is encircled by a long green snake, who slithers over her shoulder, circles her waist and gropes at her thighs. The two sink to the ground and appear to share an instant of passion before the snake is finally vanquished. (See it on Real Video.)

      
    ST. PATRICK PAGEANT
    Choreography by: Clare Byrne.
    Dancers: Rodrigo Alonzo, Donna Bouthillier, Sarah Carlson, Jennifer A. Cooper, Amy Larimer, Elmer Moore Jr., Roben Ortiz, Theresa Palazzo.
    Music by: Rodrigo Alonzo and Jason Crigler.
    This is not exactly the same St. Patrick that we honor this weekend by drinking green Budweiser. This is the hero of "The St. Patrick Pageant," Clare Byrne's complex and often passionate dance work that's as much about love, hate, relationships and the human psyche as it is about the great serpent-slaying saint of Ireland.

    My favorite part of the program (of the selections I saw at the 1999 Fringe Festival) is a later section in which the same two dancers, Sarah Carlson and Elmer Moore Jr., return to continue their battle. As with the rest of the program, this piece may be an outgrowth of the St. Patrick legend but the dancers' movements tell a different kind of story. The entire piece is a brutal, dreamlike battle between a man and woman suggesting a deep, primal conflict that's as old as marriage itself. At the end, the two find themselves lying side-by-side, suggesting that it was in fact all a dream, an expression of subconscious fury. The surprise is that when they wake up, they hold each other tenderly, contradicting the entire bloodbath we've just witnessed. It's a moment of stunningly ambiguous intimacy. Which was real and which was a put-on — the anger or the love? Or do we subconsciously hold both of these contradictory emotions together in our closest relationships? We can only imagine the answer.

    VIDEO
    Requires free RealPlayer:

    Used by permission.



       from "The St. Patrick Pageant" (2:29).
       Also by Clare Byrne:
    from "Cain" (2:10)

      
    As if to echo this thought, the dance ended to the seemingly perfect anguished wakeup music "Nobody Knows (How I Feel This Morning)" by Aretha Franklin in its earlier incarnation — but the whole "Pageant" is a work in progress, and Byrne says there's new music for this scene. Besides this and Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain," which accompanies the first scene, there's striking guitar music from Jason Crigler — blueslike but full of strange, dissonant surprises that add to the unpredictability of these fascinating dances.

    MARCH 13, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on St. Patrick Pageant:

  • Good show!   from Ephraim Mosner, Oct 21, 2001

  • Post a comment on "St. Patrick Pageant"