Author Archive: Mari S. Gold

Mari S. Gold

Mari S. Gold is a freelance writer who contributes to many magazines and websites. Her blog, But I Digress… , on cultural events, travel, food  and other topics is at www.marigoldonline.net. She lives in New York City.

The Nutcracker, from Company XIV: Red, Hot and (Pretty) Blue

Nutcracker Rouge

Take The Nutcracker standard and blend with a dash of Sally Bowles, a soupçon of Marie Antoinette, a pinch of dominatrix and a lot of spangles and you have the basis of the 2015 iteration of Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge. Everyone wears heels; in many instances, no one wears a lot else if you discount the G-strings, glittering codpieces and pasties. It’s a lot of fun watching the company prance through bits of this naughty-with-a-wink version of the classic Nutcracker with other fairy tales thrown in. There is some actual dancing including the opening, a vaguely Coppelia-ish number with one dancer in pointe shoes clad, as is her partner in Harlequin-like costumes.

The American Ballet Theater’s 75th Anniversary Performances

Misty Copeland in "Company B." Photo © Gene Schiavone.

The centerpiece of the evening was Monotones I and II, set to music by Eric Satie with choreography by Frederick Ashton. Each Monotone is a pas de trois; one for two women and a man; the other for two men and a woman with II made first. Both pieces look very simple but they aren’t, as each contains a lot of arabesques and attitudes as well as other moves requiring hard-to-sustain balances. The dancers stand out from the background lit by Michael Korsch—the first group in yellowish-green from neck to toes; the second in white, both with what look like squashed bathing caps adorned with jewels on their heads. (Originally, the head coverings were different and, apparently, more stylish.) The piece is classic and remote; at times the dancers made me feel they were under the sea, moving their arms and legs against the weight of water.

Lisa Lewis’ “Schooled,” at the Soho Playhouse — closes October 17

Lilli Stein as Claire and Quentin Maré as Andrew. Photo Andrea Reese.

A jaded film professor and two students form a love and work triangle in Schooled, winner of the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting and part of the Fringe Encore Series at Soho Playhouse. Claire (Lilli Stein) is a smart young woman marked by her hard life background, Jake (Stephen Friedrich) plays her boyfriend born into wealth and privilege, a guy to whom everything has always come easy. The play, written by Lisa Lewis and very well directed by James Kautz, delves into the lengths we go to get ahead as the students compete for the same grant to make a film.

Judith & Vinegar Tom, a Double Bill by PTC/NYC (Potomac Theater Project); through August 9

Kathleen Wise as Margery and Bill-Army in Jack-in-Vinegar Tom.

Judith: A Parting from the Body by Howard Barker, is based loosely on the Biblical tale of this woman’s heroism as depicted by artists through the ages including Artemesia Gentileschi, Botticelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Gustav Klimt. In Barker’s rendition, Judith, played by Pamela J. Gray, comes to the tent of Holofernes, wiry Alex Draper, accompanied by The Servant, brought to life by the excellent Patricia Buckley and garbed somewhat like a modern Orthodox Jewish woman in black hat and pearls. In this version, the fatal encounter is a complex duel of seduction and deception that requires the audience to stay alert as the narrative is challenging. We know how the story ends but, at times, aren’t sure it will move along the traditional directions as the actors lie to one another often leaving truth in doubt.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Lincoln Center, June 14, 2015

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Rennie Harris' Exodus. Photo Paul Kolnik.

The evening’s first piece, “Toccata,” is part of a longer work, Come and Get the Beauty of it Hot, created by Talley Beatty in the 1960s. The dance is  described as “set in the streets of New York” and has a jazzy feel that reminded me of West Side Story although with a more classic look and feel. Set to music by Grammy Award-winning Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin, the piece incorporates ensembles, duets and trios with a “big” finish when the girls leap—almost sail—into the men’s arms with their own arms outstretched. The whole is fun but not very arresting, almost like a series of class exercises.

New Chamber Ballet, Miro Magloire, Artistic Director, Choreographer, at the City Center, Studio 5

Miro Magloire's "The Letter." Photo. Kristen Lodoen Linder.

The modest setting: a large practice studio at City Center with the room’s reversed big-bowl chandeliers providing  the “lighting;” the audience on folding, metal chairs. German-born Miro Magloire was everywhere at once; welcoming the audience, providing background before each of the six offerings and repositioning the grand piano and music stand. Magloire’s company, New Chamber Ballet, is small with five dancers and often a guest artist; pianist Melody Fader whose brilliant playing enhanced  three pieces and violinist Doori Na who played the other three.