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  •  REVIEW: SENSATE

    Jillian Hollis and Kelly Hayes, front; David Figueroa and Carrie Ahern, back in SeNSATE
    Photo by Julie Lemberger
    Jillian Hollis and Kelly Hayes, front; David Figueroa and Carrie Ahern, back

    A Place to Stay Awhile

    Carrie Ahern's SeNSATE offers more than usual

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Entering SeNSATE is like entering a comfortable spaceship in which human creatures are interacting, oblivious to the presence of watching earthlings. This spaceship is both luxuriously spacious and oddly rustic, with warm, shifting lighting and gentle ambient sound that mixes looping human murmurings and soft gongs. All this peacefulness does little to calm the inhabitants, though. Much of the time they are shaking and convulsing and stamping and pulling, alone or in pairs or threes.

      
    SENSATE
    Choreography by: Carrie Ahern.
    Dancers: Carrie Ahern, Donna Costello, David Figueroa, Kelly Hayes, Jillian Hollis.
    Music by: Anne Hege.
    Costumes by: Naoko Nagata.
    Lighting design by: Jay Ryan.
     SCHEDULE
    The Brooklyn Lyceum
    November 18-22, 2009

    Just as it seems they may shudder themselves to exhaustion, though, things shift to a gentler, calmer place and action becomes more rare and subtle, even tender and lethargic. This, too, gives the group the feeling of being encapsulated for what may be a long time, as though these five people are stuck together on a very long trip. Anxiety and comfort are continuously at odds, and each wins for a little while. A smaller upstairs room, visible but mostly silent from the large main room, seems to be the freakout room, where members of the group can go individually to blow off real steam without creating any friction down below. Really violent stomping does get through muffled to the larger space, continually keeping that freakout vibe at the edge of consciousness while watching others doing other things.

    This is such an interesting use of space. Flooring strips at random overlapping angles mix with similarly random church pews and a human-size box on the main floor, and every inch of the space is available to explore. There are vantage points from above, below and immediately next to the performers, and only the built-in human tendency to not disturb others prevents the audience from touching or engaging the performers. Interestingly, individual dancers do occasionally test this, moving very close to seated people. Coincidently or not, there is a vaguely sacred feeling to the space and proceedings that gives the church pews subtle meaning. And subtle is the best word to describe the piece, even as performers thrash about. There is never any pressure to stay in one place, so there is never any real need to leave the show. The whole experience is continually shifting over three hours and will probably shift subtly over the course of the five performances, making this one of those pieces that invites multiple viewing.

    Credit Carrie Ahern for conceiving and directing the piece, Jay Ryan for some really beautiful and innovative lighting design, Anne Hege for live music that is similarly intriguing but noninvasive, and Ahern, Donna Costello, David Figueroa, Kelly Hayes and Jillian Hollis for engaging performances. Only by spending some time inside the piece do all the meanings of the word sensate seep in.

    NOVEMBER 19, 2009
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on SeNSATE:

  • fascinating experience   from Mike, Nov 21, 2009
  • SeNSATE   from stu shapiro, Nov 21, 2009
  • SeNASTE   from jack, Nov 24, 2009

  • Post a comment on "SeNSATE"