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    2017-2018 reviews:


      Nancy Bannon
    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".


    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.

    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.
    Joyce SoHo
    155 Mercer (btw. Houston and Prince)
    June 12-15, 2003

    "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.

    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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