Neta Pulvermacher creates an eccentric phantom character to illustrate the multi-colored existence we all share in "Rainbow Girl".
By SARAH CARLSON
The sheer wonder that accompanies the very first witnessing of a real, naturally occurring rainbow often becomes indelibly imprinted on our consciousness. Usually captured during the innocence of youth, this pure emotion is, in fact, regularly associated with the word for the rest of our lives. The seven colors that make up a rainbow are fused inextricably into one magical arc, ethereal, ephemeral, unique. Not surprisingly, all of these qualities are embodied by the fictitious character and unseen star of Neta Pulvermacher's new "Rainbow Girl".
Like the phenomenon for which the program is named, "Rainbow Girl" is clear and quite simple in structure. A series of short interviews describing the aforementioned Rainbow Girl precede dances that further convey aspects of her character. Each color of the rainbow is represented with the addition of white to finish. Black and all its dark connotations is conspicuously absent, but then again, the "Absence of Color" would be the Rainbow's antitheses and fuel for quite another program altogether.
|Choreography by: Neta Pulvermacher.|
Dancers: Natsuki Arai, Tracy Dickson, Chase Granoff, Luke Miller, Neta Pulvermacher, Brittany Reese and Cara Regan.
Costumes by: Melissa Schlachtmeyer.
Related links: Official site
|The Flea Theater|
41 White Street (btw Broadway & Church)
May 14-17, 2003
The interviews are highly entertaining for their bizarre nature in focus and content. The interviewees are all highly tangential to Rainbow Girl's existence and always have odd observations to share about someone they barely know. This approach is curiously familiar in the vast city of New York where the fishbowl of daily life is filled with some pretty strange fish. One of the most memorable sketches is delivered by a woman who sees Rainbow Girl and her dog, "Moby", at the dog run. She describes how Moby is dressed in a different color dog coat each day and after a time, she notices that there is a direct correlation between the color of the Moby's coat and the mood of both the dog and Rainbow Girl for that day. Janet Stapleton, who delivers this excerpt, is marvelously matter-of-fact in tone, the irony of which further enhances the humor. This interview is also notable because it is at once a vivid anecdote that informs on the character of Rainbow Girl and also a metaphor that illustrates Ms. Pulvermacher's intent for the program as a whole.
The dances that accompany each color are highly conceptual and marvelously performed by Ms. Pulvermacher's capable company of six. Melissa Schlachtmeyer's vibrant costume design delights at every turn with a variety of styles and wit. The opening dance in mesmerizing magenta incorporates layers of richly colored fabric cut to cubist dimensions. Solemn and precise, Natsuki Arai and Brittany Reese execute contrasting linear and curved movement that is pleasingly simple yet deceptively challenging. The next dance sweeps serious out the window with a stage filled with bright yellow tutus. Both men and women waft their arms in unassuming porte-de-bras when suddenly, what should fall from their crotches but real, live lemons! Red springs forth in rosy leaping splendor incarnated by Tracy Dickson, Blue rains polka dots in Natsuki Arai's arrestingly beautiful baby-doll solo and Brittany Reese breathes life into Green with effervescent spins and earnest abandon. Alternately silly and serious, deliberate and uninhibited, each dance captures myriad nuances of both motion and emotion. Combined, they paint an elaborate internal landscape.
If "Rainbow Girl" were indeed a painting, however, it would no doubt be impressionistic. Ms. Pulvermacher plays with abstraction to the extent that her emotions register but are not specific enough to be deeply moving. The dances that accompany each color are conceptually well-crafted but often performed with dead-pan faces. This forces the audience to glean significance from movement alone which can be enigmatic and hard to personlize. The choice of score helps this along. Sara Davis Buechner's beautiful live rendition of Franz Schubert's Opus 90 & 142 is familiar territory for classical music lovers and moving in it's own right.
Ultimately, our phantom Rainbow Girl is not long destined for this world and meets an abrupt end when she cannot resist the call of an enchanted evergreen and drives her car into it. The very last soliloquy is delivered by Rainbow Girl herself describing the sensation of dying and the vibrant bursts of color she sees. Despite its ambiguity, "Rainbow Girl" succeeds in tapping into an existential state-of-being, a higher level of feeling that is inextricably connected to our mortality, or perhaps, immortality. The audience is left to ponder whether Rainbow Girl is simply crazy or whether her suicide harkens to greater truths. Ms. Pulvermacher's "Rainbow Girl" is at once a light dance essay on emotion and also an intriguing meditation on the interconnectedness of life and the multi-colored reality we all share.
|MAY 18, 2003|
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