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  •  REVIEW: TRAPPED

      Trapped
    In her snare

    What's "Trapped" in Ksenia Vidyaykina's creations is spiders' prey, schoolgirls, and us, the unsuspecting audience.

    By LORI ORTIZ
    Offoffoff.com


    "Trapped" is not for the arachnophobic or claustrophobic, the queasy or squeamish, or those who fear the sight of blood. However deterrent this may sound, it seemed that all, even the two octogenarians in the full house, were enthralled with Ksenia Vidyaykina's performance.

    In her one-woman-show, Vidyaykina sang heartfelt songs in Russian, acted expressively, danced, choreographed, and directed. She designed and made her own costumes and created the video with some help from her friends. The resulting performance was a singular vision, a feminist tragedy, a surreal nightmare, a succession of predicaments, a cocktail of perversities, washed down with a chaser of charm.

    TRAPPED
    Choreography by: Ksenia Vidyaykina.
    Dancers: Ksenia Vidyaykina.
     SCHEDULE
    Linhart Theatre
    440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor
    Aug. 8-24, 2003

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    Her artistry inspires throughout the misery; she reels after four acts, finally materializing in a schoolgirl outfit with an explanation — a preposterously sweet parable of a darning needle, "I'm too fine, I might break." After washing up in the gutter and rejecting a piece of broken beer bottle disguised as a diamond, she is content to just be herself.

    The performance begins with a strip burlesque dance. Vidyaykina is strong and sexy in classic nude crepe. Then things turn macabre when, as in a B horror movie, she removes layers including a giant skin-like swath from her leg, the underside too grim to recount. She turns cold with fear, and decidedly unsexy.

    An organic orb on a black field is projected on a large backdrop screen. Gradually it is filmed at a wider angle and can be identified as the hole into which a latchkey girl looks while knocking unsuccessfully to gain entrance to the six apartments on the floor of a tenement building. In the film, the narrative unfolds in segments between live acts. The story of the hapless girl is set to a fearsome beat and quickening pulse, a selection from Ryoji Ikeda's CD "+/- " that could have been used to track the location of Edgar Allan Poe's telltale heart. The tragic ending of this film parallels the emotional live scenes in which body fluids pour from Vidyaykina in a trick black velvet mermaid dress. As a ballerina she gyrates and contracts in a stiff unyielding tutu, and finally playing a black spider seductress she drops from a red swath. On long black leather legs she gets up close and personal with the audience, planting loving kisses of death on folks too surprised to protest.

    Trapped in the crowded lobby before the show, the soon-to-be audience could not predict the bag of tricks in store nor the part they would take. A surveillance camera was already trained on the flock of festival mavens. The crowd on the screen is not the returning apartment dwellers finally home to let the poor child in. It is none other than the ever-optimistic audience. The happy conclusion is forgone, but seeing our image onstage is amusing.

    Vidyaykina looks at the double-edged sword that is pleasure and pain. She seems to ask, what part can we play in an unkind world? Though one can crave the healing power of a perfect divertissement, Vidyaykina's creation serves up the raw scenes that hit home.

    AUGUST 25, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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