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    2018-2019 reviews:


      Makiko Tamura on Ryoji Sasamoto in Up and Down in small apple co.
      Photo by Steven Schreiber
      Makiko Tamura on Ryoji Sasamoto in "Up and Down"
    happy circle, odd tanks

    small apple co. at Joyce SoHo


    small apple co. does things in small steps at their Joyce SoHo show, in an evening split in two pieces. Each takes time to develop and arrive at its destination, but the pace is the point in both.

    Up and Down, likely about daily domestic life for a happy couple, is also a mystery sprinkled with odd bits of beauty. It opens with some of these, as lamps near the floor brighten the darkness to reveal first Makiko Tamura, who rises to play an old LP record, and then Ryoji Sasamoto, who wakes and gives her a tiny wave hello, from the other side of the circle of clothes that ring the stage. Mainly, the two dance playfully in synch, taking turns taking each other's weight, occasionally skidding through and flinging clothes.

    Choreography by: Makiko Tamura.
    Dancers: Michael Ingle, Asami Morita, Ryoji Sasamoto, Makiko Tamura.
    Music by: Fishmans (Up and Down); Mathew Robert Cooper and Masakatsu Takagi (Tank).
    Set design by: Yasushi Nishikawa (Tank).
    Costumes by: Makiko Tamura.
    Lighting design by: Tsubasa Kamei.
    Production stage manager: Tsubasa Kamei.
    Company Manager: Yuko Mitsuishi.
    Sound operator: Saul Ulerio.
    Joyce SoHo
    July 13-15, 2012

    They move flawlessly together, responsive and quick to the other's touch, taking breaks to "sleep" as they stand in darkness while a clock with rapidly spinning hands glows on the back wall. Interestingly, the periods of darkness lengthen and increase. Stars begin showing up on the back wall in some of these, and then, in a final mystery, a rotating light in a multicolored ball throws spots of light around the dark while both dancers stand in front of it and watch — giving a gentle, peaceful quality to what looks like a dance party with no one dancing, long after she has taken the needle off the record.

    Tank is slow and ultimately sad, but it is also moving and beautiful, and its subtle pace feels much like the pace at which lives evolve. Asami Morita, Michael Ingle and Ryoji Sasamoto start in the largest steel-framed "tank" on stage, big enough for the two men to keep Morita aloft much of the time in a very slow, underwater-feeling intro. All seem to be comfortable and cooperating as things begin, but eventually Morita slips away, and even out of the tank, strolling the perimeter as the two men grapple slowly in conflict, or play.

      Asami Morita in Tank in small apple co.
      Photo by Steven Schreiber
      Asami Morita in "Tank"
    The first real jolt out of the eerie snail's pace comes when she begins physically sliding and shaking the cage with the men inside, who remain oblivious to her absence and to the mussing of space around them. All of Tank is performed in very low light, by black-clothed performers on a black stage, with a musical soundscape of glorms and slisps, so little sonic touches like the sound of sliding/scraping steel gain weight. Each dancer takes a turn in his/her personal cage/cocoon of grey metal, looking somehow both adrift and moored while inside. Ingle invades Morita's tank with her in it, and then Sasamoto dismantles Ingle's while Ingle stands inside, first placing the pieces on his own as if appropriating them and later placing them over an inert Ingle as he lies in the largest tank like a piece of driftwood.

    Asami Morita, Ryoji Sasamoto, Michael Ingle in Tank in small apple co.
    Photo by Steven Schreiber
    Asami Morita, Ryoji Sasamoto, Michael Ingle in "Tank"

    Only at the end, as Sasamoto becomes the last of the three to enter and stay in a tank, looking into a fading light in what feels like a last shred of hope, does the isolation and separation of the three hit us fully.

    JULY 14, 2012

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