Living room laugh in
The Miami Project stretches the definition of dance theater as it cavorts its often ludicrous satire of sitcom-inspired comedy across the stage and into our hearts.
By LORI ORTIZ
Dance theater is a broad term for productions like the musical "Chicago," as well as the European tanztheatre that inspired Pina Bauch and much of today's postmodern dance. In "The Miami Project," vocal rampages create a 'theater with dance' that is informed by TV sitcoms.
Seven characters relate and don't relate in a raucous sublimation of life in a Miami condominium as seen by creators and dancers Leigh Garret and Katie Workum. Garret, in kinky beige, and high heels, polls the audience as we sit down for opinions on hellfire and condominium complexes. The question of hellfire adds the intended existential absurdity to the piece. Without it, the performance would be too much like a TV sitcom.
|THE MIAMI PROJECT|
|Created by Leigh Garrett and Katie Workum in collaboration with Felicia Ballos, Terry Dean Bartlett, Nicole Berger, Nathan Phillips, Will Rawls, and Rob Reinis|
|Gale Gates et al.|
37 Main St. DUMBO
June 5-21, 2003
The party begins with the sangfroid Ab Fab crew entering as Garret clicks away to join management partner Robert Reinis in the office. They toy with binoculars and spike their 9-5 with frequent fornication. Completely clothed, the acts are illicit, sexy, and great comedy. The severely ludicrous commandant manager and her accomplice later lead in a malicious plan to submerge the vacationers as they aquasize. The scene takes place under a waving blue tarp, a clever set designed by Daniel Davidson.
Janussz Jaworski's lighting bathes the characters in an intoxicating sun as they rest and grow restless in chaise lounges. They adjust the chairs en masse to follow the sun. Lip-gloss gleams and Workum periodically calls "Jerry" absently and for no apparent reason. Jerry (Nathan Phillips) and all the 'relaxing' guests start to fidget, igniting sophomoric touch games and jumping with annoyance.|
Up for tennis, Will Rawls poses and two-steps with a clueless expression. The group's adrenaline seems to ebb and flow in synch. Tempers inflame in an energetic rumble. In alternating pairs, Rawls, Phillips, and Terry Dean Bartlett give amusing performances of male bonding. Likewise, sitting on the floor, Workum and Felicia Ballos dance a wonderfully appealing girlish duet. Nicole Berger glances enviously, entrapped in Bartlett's amorous pursuit.
In an evening freestyle, the sky is lit with Reed Andersons perforated gobo filter shooting magenta polka dots onto the darkened backdrop. His painted shadows of palm trees are missed amid the garish costumes and loud energy of the dancers. Perhaps like the mention of hellfire, the paintings add an undercurrent of irony.
Movement is intertwined with double-talking narratives to create a stereotypical cast the creators have supposed would visit a condominium complex. The characters themselves watch a television prop which dictates their changing emotions.
Phillips delivers a hilariously unconvincing lip-synched soliloquy. In a riotous reign, Ballos sings along to Julie London's "Swan" atop a shaky pyramid. Moments like these give the dance a feeling that you yourself could do this in your own living room, or have. This is part of the fun in this entertaining evening of lowbrow campy satire.
|JUNE 9, 2003|
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