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    2016-2017 reviews:

  •  REVIEW: DONNELL OAKLEY: SURE

    L-R: Jordan Risdon, Alex Springer, Courtney Drasner in Donnell Oakley: Sure
    Photo by Justin Skrakowski
    L-R: Jordan Risdon, Alex Springer, Courtney Drasner

    Being Okay with Not Knowing

    Donnell Oakley's evening at Gowanus Art + Production

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    "So Much Unspoken" could be the Easy Reader title of Donnell Oakley's evening at the GAP (Gowanus Art + Production), but it is not that sort of book.

      
    DONNELL OAKLEY: SURE
    Choreography by: Donnell Oakley.
    Dancers: Xan Burley, Courtney Drasner, Donnell Oakley, Jordan Risdon, Alex Springer.
    Costumes by: Heather Klar.
    Lighting design by: Mandy Ringger.
    Music editing: Jacob Oakley.
     SCHEDULE
    Gowanus Art + Production (GAP)
    July 16 and 17, 2014

    Comic bits and awkward pauses are sometimes the same thing in Start/Over, a trio between Courtney Drasner, Jordan Risdon and Alex Springer. In this tricky piece that walks the line between humor and emptiness, these three are such excellent performers that watching them is reward enough. Stop/start action, recurring sequences, and confusion are the main features. A three-talk-at-once, 3-way question sequence is clever and amusing, especially in the last iteration as the acting and spacing get bigger and bigger. Feigned boredom and closed eyes keep the audience guessing, and there is a point midway when, spoken in unison, "What do we do now?" is both a humorous tension-breaker and a too-close-to-real question. After a suitably long pause, the three convulse dramatically to the floor as one, and we get both an answer and a laugh. Subtle blackouts, periods of quiet, and really tasty use of soft Mozart choral music elevate what continues to be a mix of physical humor, mild anxiety and confusion. Even the ending is left up in the air, as the three seem unsure about leaving and the audience seem unsure they have left, finally.

    Donnell Oakley, with Xan Burley in back in Donnell Oakley: Sure  
    Photo by Justin Skrakowski  
    Donnell Oakley, with Xan Burley in back
      
    sure, i'm sure shares many of the qualities of Start/Over, but everything here is big and sassy — even the awkward pauses. Oakley finds a soul sister in Xan Burley, and they dance a mean duet in short, sequined dresses. A surprising upgrade to dark sunglasses kicks up the badass factor, and some nifty dancing and floorwork to Big Boi music gets things lively for a bit. At its heart, though, sure, i'm sure is about the uncertainty and unknowability of life. Little displays of confidence, and deflection by feigned inattention, are two strategies that allow two friends to gloss over big anxieties, in the clever and well wrought dialog sections that form the nucleus of this dance. Plenty of contact-based partnering fills out sure, solid physical intimacy to mirror or outdo the emotional intimacy that can be elusive even in close friendships. As in the entire evening, the mix of strong dancing, awkward humor and well-crafted work gives everything a well-earned win.

    JULY 20, 2014
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Donnell Oakley: Sure:

  • Congrats!   from Joe, Jul 21, 2014
  • Donnell Oakley   from , Jul 28, 2014

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