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  •  REVIEW: ASPIC

    ASPIC

    Great "ASPIC"-tations

    Absurd costumes lead to off-kilter dances that lead to wry observations about girls' lives in Monkeyhouse's "ASPIC."

    By KRISTINA FELICIANO
    Offoffoff.com

    If there were a theme song for this show (by the people who brought you last year's "Absolutely Abreast"), it would be Madonna's "What It Feels Like for a Girl." "ASPIC" consists of six short dance pieces that look at distaff issues — how to flirt properly with a man, for example — with the same wry insistence as Madge's pop song. Actually, it's beyond wry. Slyly absurd is more like it.

      
    ASPIC
    Choreography by: Nicole Harris, Karen Krolak, and Amelia O'Dowd.
     SCHEDULE
    Culture Project / 45 Bleecker
    45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette
    Fringe Festival 2002, Aug. 9-25, 2002

     RELATED ARTICLES
    Fringe Festival 2002

    • Show listings

    Theater
    • All American Boy
    • Beat
    • Confessions of an Art School Model
    • Deviant
    • The Joys of Sex
    • Living London
    • Naked Girls Drinking
    • Out to Lunch
    • Portrait of a President
    • Refugees
    • Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk
    • Room to Swing an Axe
    • Sajjil
    • Star
    • Seeing Each Other
    • Up Your Rabbit Hole
    • The Welcoming Committee

    Dance
    • ASPIC
    • Stalking Christopher Walken
    • Wet Blue and Friends

    Other Fringe Festivals
    • Fringe 2000
    • Fringe 2001
    Best in show is Karen Krolak's slapstick-y "What's Next." The costumes focus on womanly assets — Krolak and Nicole Harris both wear a coral-colored rubber glove over one breast, as if they were being permanently groped by a large-handed janitor. Their garb is also designed to hinder, with foil-wrapped Slinky-shaped hats that bob and sag awkwardly and a metal extension worn on just one leg — imagine if one limb were longer than the other and ended in a stapler instead of a foot — that keeps them struggling to stand properly. A commentary on the tyranny of women's fashion, perhaps?

    Like two eager singletons at a club, Krolak and Harris dance to a song called "Be Like You" (by David Pavkovic), whose message is as supportive of individuality as "The Man Show" is of women who wear clothing. "Women are so attractive when they're off balance," the DJ announces wistfully. There's also a bit of female competition here, as one dancer shows off how perfectly she's mastered movement despite her aesthetic hindrances and the other tries hard to copy her fluidity. A daffy and authentic piece.

    Same goes for the last selection of the show, "Ramfeezled." Again, the costume is key: Amelia O'Dowd sports fishnet stockings, a lime-green miniskirt, and a shirt whose front proudly declares "I'd look great" and whose back self-abases "On your floor." O'Dowd is another eager dancer, playfully pounding the air with her fists to the music's punk-rock percussion (the tune is by Ed in the Refrigerators). She's flirting, and a voiceover gives her pointers. It's no surprise that all of the tips are contradictory and none too empowering: Look available but not too, act interested but don't stare, etc. We're as exhausted and confused as she is when she collapses at the end of the piece.

    The costumes in "ASPIC" are worth a special mention. Krolak produced all of them, with the exception of those for "Ramfeezled" and "Clinquant," which she made with O'Dowd. They're funny and witty and as essential to the meaning of each piece as the choreography and music. "Clinquant," for instance, starts with O'Dowd glowingly in love with her boyfriend — she makes eggs in heart-shaped molds for breakfast — and ends with the demise of their relationship. The costume for this tale of a lovelorn woman? A tangle of men's dress shirts fashioned into a skirt, with another shirt buttoned backward and askew as a top. Of course, the fact that she drags herself on the floor the whole time, as if love were so lusciously lazy-making and at the same time debilitating, also coaxes the theme along. But that's another story.

    AUGUST 19, 2002
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on ASPIC:

  • [no subject]   from Wolfgang Krolak><br> , Jun 25, 2003

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