By J. Shuey
Tonight i was in attendance at the premiere of Relatively Real at On the Boards. A work commissioned for Lingo in part by On the Boards.
The visual aspects were quite compelling and the physical movement was complex and at times surprising.
The set was a completely open stage. All the walls of the theater were exposed all the lights were visible the the space seemed almost to open up to an infinite. My body and mind seemed to feel so far away from what was really actually very close to me. There were large white panels (actually calling them panels is unfair since there were three dimensional curved rectangles but you really have to see them to appreciate their dynamic quality) that moved and defined the open space of the theater. I just have to say the way they moved across the stage was absolutely amazing. With no real sound, and a flowing sensuality, the set pieces glided across the stage with a delicate elegance.
This set gave both the lighting designer and video designer many dimensions to play with their separate projections. The lighting designer used the bodies of the dancers as projections and the video designer used the projectors to add more dimension and the occasional color to the show. The whole show was remarkably shadow and light (or black and white, except the costumes). i know this is only a perception i had but when i look back on it i really only see light and dark. Not much color?
i really enjoyed the set up of the space after the first big set move.
The panels were on end to the audience defining each individual dancers dressing area and space. the dancers then altered that by moving in and out of the viewable spaces. This scene with the vertical uprights and empty space really made for a nice beginning. My next favorite moment was when the panels came and defined the space again by giving the space some solid walls at the edge of the space leaving two dancers to occupy their own half of the stage in a separated duet of strong physical movement that found itself both flying and falling in the same moment.
For the overall feeling of the evening the movement and sound made me feel like i was constantly breathing in holding my breath (pausing)
then letting it out. There seem to be a lot of preparation for
something. The something, at times, was intricate body flying movement and at other times was just a release of the breath in preparation for another breath and then other times it was something that was physically complicated, visually cluttered.
The vocal aspects of the show ranged from amazingly interesting (opening sequence) to aggravating (telling me what what was happening was boring). For me the most interesting ensemble movement happened after i was told that everything else that could possibly happen was going to be boring. After that the visual aspects the space became engaging and the movement had a dynamic clarity.
i was engaged by the visual manipulations of the space and enjoyed thinking about my perceptions of the dynamics of spatial manipulation.
For Rental: Available now