Articles by Mari S. Gold
Watching Mark Morris’ dancers swoop and soar in V, (the number five, a reference to the number of musicians playing Schumann’s Quintet in E-flat major) was entirely thrilling. There are no stars in the company so the group has to work very hard—they do but it doesn’t show. The work is a pure representation of dance integrity.
Crossroads, the premiere of an evening–length work in three parts with choreography by Amanda Selwyn and company is abstract with a focus on decision-making and what an often disturbing process this is. It was exhilarating to watch the very well-tuned dancers move in solos, duets, trios, and sometimes as a complete group, each showing inner strength while maintaining an essential understanding of personal place and where their bodies fit into the space.
Anglophiles, those with a taste for recent British history and anyone who would like a look back at a non-PC world will enjoy this entertaining gabfest. Writer Moira Buffini has imagined a lengthy series of interchanges between Queen Elizabeth and her Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, sprinkling these liberally with references to events they shared. The transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, relationships with President and Mrs. Reagan, Charles and Diana’s wedding, the Falklands and a much else gets a brief look at as two Queens, (Anita Carey as Q and Beth Hylton as a younger version dubbed Liz), and two Iron Ladies, (Kate Fahy as T and Susan Lynskey as the younger Mags), meet repeatedly, talk about what passed for state business and drop asides.
It’s Angel’s Bar, a good-ole-boy hangout in Maynard, Texas with bales of hay, beer bottles, an outline of the Lone Star state on a door and graffiti on the walls. Two ragged men with battered Stetsons speak as one sloppily sweeps up escaping hay and I thought, ah, the performance. No, it was the house rules with the usual explanations about exit signs augmented with some barroom bits like “no touching.”
It was with relief that I greeted the final number on the program. Undercurrent, set to music by Henryk Gόrecki, woke up, enlivening me, the audience at large and also seemingly the dancers who had previously drifted through a series of works that I found bland and somnolent. Undercurrent raised levels of power and energy with repeated prancing steps, first danced by groups of women and later by the company’s men.
Gary Ferrer’s Nothing Here is Real is an entertaining mash-up of what he refers to as “mentalism”—magic effects, including one it-almost-doesn’t-happen card trick, and cheery, crowd-pleasing patter designed both to engage the audience and turn its collective mind where he wants it to focus.
Benjamin Britten’s 1946 chamber opera, set in c. 600 BC when a wildly debauched Rome was under Etruscan rule, is accidentally prescient. As presented by New Camerata Opera, the work, intelligently directed by Bea Goodwin, makes the most of the abuse of male power, retelling a legend that has as much (maybe more) significance today than it ever did.