Isle for one and one for isle
Karinne Keithley's "Islander" offers a dreamlike vision of life and beyond, based on a slightly fictional Marc Antony contemplating the waves, the birds and the ephemerality of existence.
By JOSHUA TANZER
Choreographer Karinne Keithley's passion for history knows no bounds not even the boundary between what's true and what isn't. Taking her inspiration from ancient stories and found anecdotes, she weaves fanciful works from threads of words and movement, fact and imagination.
"Islander" is her latest creation, based on the declining years of Marc Antony when he exiled himself to the Mediterranean island of Antirhodos near Alexandria, Egypt. There he spent his final 2000 years reflecting on his life and writing his memoirs.
|Choreography by: Karinne Keithley.|
Dancers: Melissa Briggs, Shoshana Hoffert, Karinne Keithley, Mindy Nelson, Paul Matteson, Sara Procopio.
Related links: Official site
70 North 6th St.,
May 9-10, 2002
Okay, that would the part that isn't, technically, true.
"Islander" unfolds dreamily, as our hero gradually leaves behind his painful military losses and passes one languorous day after another, hypnotized by the age-old rhythm of the sea and the timeless routine of the birds. Paul Matteson does a muscularly graceful tribute to the birds while Keithley, reading Antony's own alleged words, describes the idyllic scene on this island far away from war and politics.
But things start changing, and it's the birds' fault. First, after less than a century of solitude, Antony is visited by a pigeon bearing gifts Antony's own 1st-century biography by Plutarch. Suddenly, he is forced to see his life from a distance as a man who has long since ceased to matter to the world.
"[I'm] reading this story of Antony, all full of trying to rule the world, and in the end I'm just a story on the way to someone else's success," he says with a melancholy that feels like a timeless mourning of life gone by.
|Watching "Islander" leaves you with a slightly confused smile on your face and the feeling of having glimpsed something just beyond consciousness.|| |
As the show continues through the centuries, our character's unlikely existence becomes more and more dreamlike and detached, life turning into a vague idea rather than the well-defined corporeal experience that we know.
As in last fall's wonderful "Four Fruits," Keithley really conveys her sense of wonder at what's known and unknown from the remote past, with a sly sense of humor in her terrific writing and an odd feeling of forced grace in her choreography. Often the dancers move as if posing for an Egyptian wall painting making elegant pictures but with a comedic stiffness, a deliberation attention to where their movements start and end. Watching "Islander" leaves you with a slightly confused smile on your face and the feeling of having glimpsed something just beyond consciousness.
|MAY 16, 2002|
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