So good, it's cruel
Nancy Bannon and gang take on weighty themes that get under the skin in "It's a Cruel, Cruel Summer".
By SARAH CARLSON
We are our own worst enemy· except in the face of
the evils that surround us: peer pressure, commercialized
culture and humanity's destruction of the planet.
Nancy Bannon and a very talented cast of performers
take on these heavy issues and more in an evening of powerful
social commentary. Bannon, who is well-known for her
seven year tenure with Doug Varone and Dancers, has a
knack for amassing exceptionally poignant material
that continues to resonate long after the entertainment has ended.
"Nightswimming" begins with an engaging monologue
delivered with fervor by Madeline Seide. The
monologue is actually a one-sided cell-phone
conversation that Seide delivers center stage, or
more accurately as we soon learn, from the branches of
a tree. Having climbed the tree to preserve its life,
Seide is seeking companionship and perhaps legal aid
in what she knows will be a not-so-friendly battle. In
the background, we see a lamp, a large armchair; the
makings of a comfortable living room from where most
of America indifferently observes clashes such as
these· As Seide exits, a silent figure rises from the
chair and walks forward revealing a red, leafy
disposition. Without words, Nina Watt embodies the
previously mentioned tree as disturbed, defiant,
suffering, yet proud. In a striking gesture, Ms. Watt
repeatedly tries to speak but finds she has no voice.
Despite this limitation, we cannot help but hear her
loud and clear through her penetrating gaze. Her eyes are
piercing in judgement, but also questioning as if to
ask "Why?" Watt incarnates Nature in the face of our
destruction of it.
"SHOW" investigates the inner struggle of a young
woman trying to find herself. Stephanie Liapis and
Netta Yerushalmy, portray two sides of a single person
who are frequently at war. Clever sound clips of
actual wrestling matches help situate the action.
From the start, Stephanie Liapis, clearly the
outer-face of this person, delivers a riveting
performance that thoroughly captivates to the finish.
Alternating between self-love and self-hate, Liapis
looks outside herself in a desperate call for
affirmation. "Tell Me Something Good" by Stevie
Wonder blares repeatedly as Liapis strips
down to a shiny red bra and struts her stuff.
Ulitmately, disappointment prevails as she is unable
to find inner peace and self-exposure only leads to
emptiness and shame. Somewhat unclear is Ms. Yerushalmy's role
as self. She has no patience for pretense, she
thwarts every needy effort for attention, yet she
eventually loses patience and abandons her other half
in a moment of need. Rodney Cuellar's playful costume
design of ruffled gym suits did not quite fit; an
initial poodle impression took a while to dislodge.
|Choreography by: Nancy Bannon.|
Directed by: Nancy Bannon.
Dancers: Lily Baldwin, Nancy Bannon, Megan Brunsvold, Ryan Corriston, Stephanie Liapis, Paul Matheson, Madeline Seide, Nina Watt, Netta Yerushalmy.
Costumes by: Nancy Bannon & Rodney Cuellar.
155 Mercer (btw. Houston and Prince)
June 12-15, 2003
Ms. Bannon's talents as actor and director are
showcased in "Pollination", a theater piece that
satires the commercial-infused culture we live in.
Marc Kenison is hilarious as an over-earnest
auditionee for a Danon spot. "I don't sell, I
communicate, and that's what this world needs!" Ms.
Bannon gives a commanding performance of a woman who
feels her clock ticking and suffers a panic attack in
the park only to be "saved" by a catchy jingle that brings
her back to her senses.
Community in crisis takes center stage in "Fragments of Candy", a visceral sextet that takes the stage by storm. Commanding walking patterns display a group slowly picking itself apart, a push here, a jibe there. Verbal sparring ricochets underhanded criticisms about appearance that are universally recognized. Lily Baldwin, Megan Brunsvold, Ryan Corriston, Paul Matteson, Liapis and Yerushalmy scream conformity sporting uniforms of khaki pants and white shirts pocked with feathers. Together, they romp around like a fledging society that has not advanced beyond combative pride and superficiality. Building in kinetic fury, the group climaxes in a cathartic unison rolling frenzy that finally releases them battered, bruised, bewildered. From the ashes, a flock transformed arises flowing with reverations of peace and hope.
Nancy Bannon has a vision. Her art speaks volumes about the world around us tackling major societal issues. Thought-provoking and effective, her dances sweep the audience into an emotional whirlwind that makes our problems harder to ignore. Bannon demonstrates an invaluable aesthetic that stands equally strong in the world of art and the world of social instigation.
|JUNE 18, 2003|
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