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  •  REVIEW: NICOLE WOLCOTT: PAPER PIECES

      Nicole Wolcott in Nicole Wolcott: Paper Pieces
      Photo by Whitney Browne
      Nicole Wolcott
    Beware Flying Pieces

    Nicole Wolcott presents PaperPieces at CPR

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com


    Nicole Wolcott's PaperPieces is/are all over the place literally and emotionally, but that is somehow perfect.

    At the entrance to CPR, a pile of crumpled newspaper and two idle electric fans look more like unfinished party cleanup than unbegun performance, as audience chat and mill in a large room. We are told to clear a path so everyone can see Omar Zubair perform live sound design at the far end of the room, and Nicole Wolcott makes an odd and stately entrance — until she sees the pile of papers, becomes a burrowing lizard and disappears.

    NICOLE WOLCOTT: PAPER PIECES
    Choreography by: Nicole Wolcott.
    Dancers: Nicole Wolcott.
    Sound design by: Omar Zubair.
    Lighting design by: Carrie Wood.
     SCHEDULE
    Center for Performance Research
    September 25 and 26, 2014

      
    For a while. A blast of papers explodes vertically and gets blown about. Still no Nicole. Sound by Zubair percolates into focus while we wonder. This synergy of sound and awareness is one of the strengths of Paperpieces. In smaller explosions, Wolcott does emerge and subside, amusing and amazing us with her ability to keep papers flying and swirling in the wind, until the papers again swallow her, and we proceed to the main performance space.

    After that introductory gulp of chaos, the pristine square of flattened overlapping pages of newspaper in the main space is a pleasant contrast. And is stays so as Wolcott enters and stands quietly, and even as she gingerly lifts an edge of paper and snakes slowly below the surface. This subtle disruption of the square is not disturbing, but it marks the beginning of a disintegration. And wow what a disintegration it is.

    Nicole Wolcott: Paper Pieces
    Photo by Whitney Browne

    Sound and music by Zuhair are as prominent and invisible as the everpresent papers, and the effect is sometimes magical. Or humorous. As Wolcott wends her way through almost every emotion in small bits of vocalization or acting, anger become the strongest player and the loudest, with shrieks of rage, in this oddly meandering first section. It says a lot that she is able to lose our focus long enough to sit down just in front of the first row and become one of the audience.

    When she discovers she has broken the performance/audience plane, her startled/embarassed reaction is a perfect segue to a large section of broad comedy that plays with the conceit of us showing up for a visit before she is quite ready for us. Of course she has to clean up before we come in; one can't have newspapers lying everywhere. And then she has to change — "I didn't like what I was wearing." The change is hilarious in itself, but the primp/vogueing dance she does after she "changes" her clothes is certainly a highlight of the show. This woman is a big mess of issues and hangups that we all recognize and even occasionally admit we share, and Wolcott plays her wonderfully.

    After the madness subsides, and the "house" is in even worse shape, the spent woman picks up a piece of newsprint and reads it, and the memory or new knowledge in it surprises her and us, as she lets out a little "huh" and the lights go out. Beauty.

    SEPTEMBER 29, 2014
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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