IBJOpinion

LOU'S VIEW: A pair of trios with DK and the Phoenix

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

Youthful energy—and youthful intensity—marked Dance Kaleidoscope’s “New Dimensions” program Oct. 24-27. The triptych featured three pieces that each stood on its own while subtly commenting on the others, adding up to one of the finest DK productions in my memory.
 

ae-riverboy-1-15col.jpg Zach Young, Timothy June, and Brandon Comer dance with a trio of unusual partners in Dance Kaleidoscope’s “Riverboy.” (Photo courtesy Crowe’s Eye Photography)

It began with “Riverboy” by choreographer Christopher Dolder who, like DK’s David Hochoy, is a former Martha Graham soloist. To the largely upbeat “Appalachia Waltz,” the dancers sprinted to an imaginary river where very real industrial inner tubes instigated a series of joyfully executed frolics, sight gags and deceptively skilled moves. Having the tubes as a variable seemed to energize the company, bringing out a sense of play that proved infectious for the enthusiastic crowd.

Youth is not just playfulness and young love. It’s also angst-ridden, which is one of the reasons the second, very different piece, Cynthia Pratt’s primal “The Whole Against the Sky,” proved a counterintuitive fit.

Beginning in a tight, writhing circle in the center of the smoky stage, the sizable company elevated individuals on the backs of others to briefly rise only to quickly return to the masses. An intense futility weighed on the eternal struggle to elevate. And the need for individuality seemed to battle the equally powerful need to connect. This was my second time seeing the piece, and my admiration for it only increased.

DK Artistic Director David Hochoy was represented in the final piece, bringing back his “iconoGlass.” I’m happy to report it’s as compelling as ever—even with a totally new set of dancers since its premiere in 1998. It shares a mythic feel with “The Whole Against the Sky,” only with a heart-quickening pulse.

While programs set to popular music may be easier to sell (next up on the DK schedule: Gershwin and country music programs), “New Dimensions” demonstrated effectively that DK doesn’t need pop crutches to achieve excellence.

“Rancho Mirage” at the Phoenix Theatre

The neighborhood in Steven Dietz’s “Rancho Mirage” (at the Phoenix Theatre through Nov. 24) is a gated community where, if you didn’t already guess from the title, things are not what they seem.

Dinner party hosts Diane and Nick are so over their heads financially that they’re reduced to searching couch cushions for change. Their guests: A couple having marital trouble and another dealing with difficulty becoming parents. Those three core issues are just the beginning, though, as revelation piles on revelation, most barely revealed before the next is stepping up to the plate.

If these big drama moments aren’t important to these alleged best friends, why should they be important to those of us in the audience? That’s a question I kept wondering throughout the play, hoping that Dietz had a trick up his sleeve to explain why we should care about these folks.

Alas, he doesn’t, making it easy to conclude that Dietz simply saw the success of “God of Carnage” and thought, “Adults behaving badly will lead to productions around the country. I can do that.” I sincerely hope that wasn’t his motivation, but I searched desperately in “Rancho Mirage” for support for another conclusion.

As part of the National New Play Network, the Phoenix Theatre is one of a handful of professional companies that stage what are labeled “rolling world premieres.” That means a play such as “Rancho Mirage” has the benefit of a string of individual “premieres” across the country with, in theory, some time for the playwright to tinker in between. If this were the first production on this tinkering trail—or if Dietz weren’t such a prolific playwright—I might have been more understanding of the play’s flaws.

But how to rationalize themes so bluntly defined and metaphors this obvious? Why has one of the male characters taken up sewing? Here comes an over-polished line to philosophically explain it. Why doesn’t such an upscale home have an ice machine in its refrigerator? Because Dietz needs a character to enter with a bag of ice and make a fortune-cookie comment about it.

Farce? Satire? Soap Opera? Drama? “Rancho Mirage” not only varies from moment to moment but also sometimes from character to character within the same scene. Each of the actors has some good moments—just as each of the characters has some good lines (Dietz knows his way around a punch line, and his writing tends to go down smoothly even when it doesn’t add up). But both the actors and the characters seem to be randomly colliding instead of being orchestrated by a careful writer and sure director.

By design or by sloppiness—it’s hard to tell—nobody seems to listen to anybody else, and it got to a point where I couldn’t remember why the last character to storm out of the room stormed out or who was mad at whom for what reason. More than wanting to know, I wanted to care.•

__________

This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming arts and entertainment events to lharry@ibj.com.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!

ADVERTISEMENT