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  •  REVIEW: CHRISTINANOEL AND THE CREATURE

      Ben Wolk held aloft by Jeremy Neal, Lonnie Poupard, Jr. and Brendan Duggan in ChristinaNoel and the Creature
      Photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujon
      Ben Wolk held aloft by Jeremy Neal, Lonnie Poupard, Jr. and Brendan Duggan
    Boyz and Gurrls

    ChristinaNoel and The Creature plays with both

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com


    Male games and female hijinx fill Creature, ChristinaNoel Reeve's refreshing and wide-ranging dance/play about the creatureness of men and women. Reaves does an excellent job of using humor to tease out the complex undercurrents in each sex.

    The men begin things, sometimes following dominant/serious Ben Wolk, in Ben's Song. Or two do, while a third wanders around on his own, watching and copying the others. As in life, no one is quite certain what the others' relationships are and who fits where in acceptance or status level. Leader Ben also follows the others' dare, to prove he is up for anything they can ask of him, and does the scariest thing the others can think of — he asks a strange woman to propose marriage to him and then accepts her proposal, at least for a moment. A wild and strange segment has Jeremy Neal transform into a living toy that can do impressive things, and from there, all four try to outdo each other in physical feats, like carrying the others on their backs. Even amid boisterousness, the dancers, especially Lonnie Poupard, Jr. and Brendan Duggan, have a relaxed quality and pace, as if the whole thing is completely natural.

    CHRISTINANOEL AND THE CREATURE
    Choreography by: ChristinaNoel Reaves.
    Dancers: men: Brendan Duggan, Jeremy Neal, Lonnie Poupard, Jr., Benjamin Wolk
    women: Liz Beres, Clare Cook, Joanna Futral, Casey Loomis, Tara Nicolas
    .
    Costumes by: The Creature.
    Lighting design by: Greg Goff.
     SCHEDULE
    Teatro LATEA
    May 18-19, 2013

      
    The space itself, Teatro LATEO, a very large room in what was a public school, is comfortable and unpretentious, clean and old. A small bar area next to the stage, and the door to the bathroom hallway, look original vintage.

    The ladies are up next, in Rapture of the Heroine (guurrrl), which has more emotional action but shares the easy pace and style of Ben's Song. Interestingly, long wordless stretches of inaction — things brewing, perhaps — are often broken by a simple word or phrase that launches a very talkative and female segment. "That", in fact, is one of the words, in a scene hilarious to any man who has tried to figure out what "that" may be in an argument, and probably to any woman who recognizes the unspokenness of so much female interaction.

    L-R: Liz Beres, Clare Cook, Joanna Futral, Tara Nicolas in ChristinaNoel and the Creature
    Photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujon
    L-R: Liz Beres, Clare Cook, Joanna Futral, Tara Nicolas

    Women support, tease and shun each other freely, changing sides or emotions quickly. Much of this is really fun — calm interactions often ramp up to excitement and noisy exclamation — but darkness sometimes lands on the one left out. Liz Beres, after being left out, goes to the piano and sings a softly pretty series of lone notes. Soliloquoys by Clare Cook, burbling on about her marriage plans, Casey Loomis, musing about love ("Love is simple"), and Tara Nicolas, sitting at a table of food and speaking of her hunger for experience and fulfillment, open up richly layered veins of female thought. Rapture ends with a clever twist, as the women play with football metaphors and turn them toward female goals, and end with a score.

    Jeremy Neal, Lonnie Poupard, Jr., Benjamin Wolk, Brendan Duggan in ChristinaNoel and the Creature
    Photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujon
    Jeremy Neal, Lonnie Poupard, Jr., Benjamin Wolk, Brendan Duggan

    Throughout both pieces, easygoing stillness and big dancing take turns, while speaking parts give a theater feel and an often welcome break from mysterious silent parts. All the dancers seem to be naturally skilled actors as well, and their ease and camaraderie is impressive.

    MAY 25, 2013
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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