|Photo by Robert Altman|
|L-R: Jordan Morley, Tiffany Mills, Emily Pope, Mei Yamanaka|
Sounds and Boundaries
Tiffany Mills' The Blue Room at the new Flea Theater
By QUINN BATSON
Tiffany Mills returns to quirky humor for Blue Room, an evening-length headphones-and-masking-tape caper.
Of course, humor doesn't rule out explorations of human nature. The power of greed, music, and personal space are all subjects, though it's easy to just watch things unfold and ponder later.
|TIFFANY MILLS: THE BLUE ROOM|
|Choreography by: Tiffany Mills.|
Dancers: Tiffany Mills, Jordan Morley, Kenneth Olguin, Nikolas Owens, Emily Pope, Mei Yamanaka.
Sound design by: Max Giteck Duykers.
Costumes by: Mary Kokie McNaugher.
Lighting design by: Chris Hudacs.
Production stage manager: Cody Johnson.
Dramaturge: Kay Cummings (Berries and Bulls).
|The Flea Theater, The Sam|
September 12-15, 218
Nik Owens opens things up, sauntering onstage with headphones, checking the perimeter of blue tape. Single or in numbers, the excellent cast of Jordan Morley, Mei Yamanaka, Emily Pope, Kenneth Olguin and Tiffany Mills join him and start squabbling over headphones, passing them like keepaway or slamming them on their ears for a turn.
The opening has a high-energy, dance-music feel that runs until the sound of unplugged electronics and static marks its end. Sound design by Max Giteck Duykers feeds much of the pacing and energy shifts of Blue Room. It is a diverse score ranging from electrotech driving to quietsparse strings, with plenty of popular music sneaking in and out.
|Photo by Robert Altman|
|Mei Yamanaka and Nik Owens|
The interplay between duets, solos and group gallops is really seamless and flowing. Each dancer takes a role and sticks with it, though identities are a bit fluid, too. Possible personality attributions have Owens as solid, Morley as hyper, Olguin as obstinate, Pope as strict, Yamanaka as flighty, and Mills as goofy but grounding.
Goofball may be the best word to sum up the overall experience, but there is plenty of solid dancing and partnering throughout. Morley, Olguin and Yamanaka all have strong duets with Owens, as per their characters. The duet between Owens and Yamanaka is a little magical, with both moving as the other's puppet in Gumbyspine smoothness.
Olguin may finally get headphones, but the wires belong to the entire group, and who controls what may never be settled, in what feels like real life.
| ||Photo by Robert Altman|
| ||Jordan Morley and Emily Pope|
And the final player in Blue Room is the blue masking tape, which has almost metaphysical abilities to shape and define the space. A small section lifted and put on the wall makes a timeout room or holding cell, the shape of the room is changed by new floortape configurations, and gaps become portals or doors that must be used for entry and exit. In the end, groups of 3 or 4 dancers lift a loop of tape to create a floating triangle or rectangle ring, moving the room into three dimensions and grabbing or releasing space and people.
|SEPTEMBER 19, 2018|
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