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  •  REVIEW: CONTAIN YOURSELF, DARLING

    Contain Yourself, Darling

    In the name of the feather

    Clouds of downy white billow around the elegant slapstick of Tami Stronach's "Contain Yourself, Darling."

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    The first unusual thing about "Contain Yourself, Darling" happens before we're even in the theater. The house manager stands at the door and gives her standard spiel, the one that begins: "If you have any cell phones, beepers, etc., etc."

      
    CONTAIN YOURSELF, DARLING
    Choreography by: Tami Stronach.
    Dancers: Tami Stronach, Kate Weare, Monica Bill Barnes, Lindsey Dietz Marchant.
    Music by: Karinne Keithley, Taraf de Haidouks.
    Sound design by: Karinne Keithley.
    Set design by: Kelly Hanson.
    Costumes by: Kelly Hanson.
    Lighting design by: James Japhy Weideman.

    Related links: Official site
    "Oh," she adds, "and if anyone has an allergy to down feathers, they will be used during the performance."

    "Copiously," adds another staff member.

    After a day when the sky was dumping snow in buckets on the city from sunup to sundown, it's a bit of dj vu to be in a performance space billowing with white clouds of fluff. "Contain Yourself, Darling" is a big four-woman snow-globe of a performance. Only with feathers.

    Each of the dancers gets her own solo introduction, of sorts. The most extensive are those of choreographer Tami Stronach, in a white evening-gownish outfit, and Kate Weare, in a black and white costume that suggests a tuxedo. Stronach emerges shaking her right hand furiously, then flinging her arms while her lower body stays mostly still. Weare's piece, by contrast, is all lower body — she sticks to the floor, lifting, crawling and turning her lower half with her legs. All four dancers have feathers and frills attached to their costumes, and white specks soon swirl through the air and catch the light around them.

    Contain Yourself, Darling  
    Motifs that seemed eccentric when performed solo soon begin to fit into a whole when the dancers combine. Monica Bill Barnes joins each of the two for a duet based on their opening pieces, and the same movements come to seem more elegant than they did at first. Eventually, the white-clad Stronach and black-clad Weare come together with their contradictory agendas for a sort of Marx Brothers tango. In what might explain the title "Contain Yourself, Darling," each dancer seems to struggle over both her own limbs and her partner's. Arms and legs from one woman grab and jab through the body of the other in a slapstick battle in which she who dies with the most limbs wins.

    Culminating the evening, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, who has only provided quirky little interludes to this point, begins to seriously molt. Soon she has layered the whole stage in feathers, and a final three-woman floor piece takes full advantage. Graceful, sweeping movements kick dramatic flurries into the air, and the commingling of bodies, breezes and Brownian motion is breathtaking.

    DECEMBER 14, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Contain Yourself, Darling:

  • Contain Yourself, Darling   from Yoyoma, Aug 18, 2005
  • To Tami   from Jens Mueller, Jan 6, 2006
  • Re: To Tami   from dimitri, Oct 30, 2009
  • a good fan   from Tristan Knouse us Army, Jan 2, 2007
  • [no subject]   from dimitri, Nov 6, 2009

  • Post a comment on "Contain Yourself, Darling"