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  •  REVIEW: CHUNKY MOVE: FAKER

    Gideon Obarzanek in Chunky Move: Faker
    Photo by Heidrun Lohr
    Gideon Obarzanek

    Reality Check

    Gideon Obarzanek goes it alone at Joyce Soho

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Anyone who can perform a 45-minute solo and keep the audience with him is doing something right, but Gideon Obarzanek's Faker is not easy to watch.

      
    CHUNKY MOVE: FAKER
    Choreography by: Gideon Obarzanek.
    Dancers: Gideon Obarzanek.
    Lighting design by: Obarzanek and Chris Mercer.
    Creative consultants: Lucy Guerin, Antony Hamilton, Tom Wright.
     SCHEDULE
    Joyce Soho
    April 25-29, May 2-6, 2012

    Obarzanek is famous for his choreography for his Australian company Chunky Move, and probably for his dancing before starting the company. Having seen the BAM extravaganza Mortal Engine the group performed 2 years ago, I can vouch for the former.

    Faker is largely a vehicle to beat himself up in public, though, with the title begging the question of what is real and what is for the sake of the show. The solo is an unsettling mix, intended to make an audience uncomfortable yet also intent on impressing. That the entire premise of the show is fake only makes things more awkward; he spends 44 minutes reeling us into a concocted scenario only to expose our credulity in the last minute.

    What is real, then? Certainly, from the performance and the program notes, Obarzanek is conflicted about his current status of having an impressive reputation and a slowly fading body. This confounding mix of status and self-doubt is probably inevitable for any human who has led a full life and reached a certain age, but not everyone can put it on stage and make others feel it.

    The letter that he reads off his laptop computer for much of the piece, addressed to him by a young woman for whom he has "agreed" to choreograph a solo, is brutally frank and apparently insightful in a way that seems unlikely but possible. He is inside someone else's head, putting himself in her place and dancing for us what he asked her to dance, showing us how easy it is to be casually disrespectful of someone else when one becomes jaded or sated and loses both perspective and some of the hunger and intensity of the beginner.

    Some of this feels like defensive, beating-others-to-the-punch self-criticism, possibly genuine, possibly deflective. Some feels like sincere reflection from an older, wiser place. Some feels like pop psychology and filler, even if comes from a genuine place.

    At any rate, when he finally gives himself the excuse to dance the phrase that he "taught" the girl, it is a fitting illustration of where he is and where he has been, a tasty piece of choreography and movement that looks quite good and probably would have been mesmerizing at his physical peak. It is genuine and vulnerable enough to forgive any deception that preceded it, and, with the rest of the show, it is a meal for thought.

    MAY 10, 2012
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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