Monday, August 28, 2006

Eye Candy (Fringe '06 Experience #4)

Well, even though the Fringe is over and done with, I'll still be posting three entries on my last three Fringe experiences. Then I just may natter on about nothing in particular for the next couple days before I take off for Maine for the week (I guess I'm missing Dorothy by about nine days).

Yes, this means you'll be Jamespeak-less for 10 days. Can you guys handle it?

I'm guessing yes. Yes, you can.

* * *

On Friday night, I went to Dance New Amsterdam to see Eye Candy, a dance show about...well, mating, presented by MariaColacoDance. Choreographed by Maria Colaco and written by Ms. Colaco and the cast, Eye Candy features several vignettes (some conventional modern dance pieces, some conventional theatre/monologue pieces) about first loves, unwanted romantic feelings, the need to get married and the hell of dating, performed by dancers who wore pastel colors, each with shirts that would say things such as "Diva," "Flirt" and "Pimp."

Some pieces that really stood out to me was the one parodying speed dating, with a very funny introduction by Billy Keiffer, reminding the speed-daters to "not be too honest," and above all, offer no eye contact ("that's too scary"). Another has a tearful bride throwing to her guests not just the bouquet, but non-stick pans, spatulas and whisks (to the tune of "Chapel of Love"). Towards the end, Pamela Ralat performs a very honest and heartfelt monologue lamenting her body type ("I know what you're thinking: 'She's got a pretty face.'") that, though sad, manages to be performed with a great deal of confidence.

Other performers relay stories about their first crushes, first loves and first breakups that range from funny to painful (all of them in the "Ah, Crap, I've Been There" Department).

Am I making this show sound too self-absorbed and pretentious? I hope not, because it isn't. Although the pieces display a lot of honesty about the hell that is the mating process (or should I write The Mating Process), the show is very light, fun and unpretentious. It never loses its sense of humor.

The entire cast/ensemble is solid; there were no weak links that I could find throughout the performance. It's clear that the members of Ms. Colaco's company are very comfortable with one another (and they should be, since they had performed this piece — in a slightly different form — last year).

I was relieved that Eye Candy didn't fall into the trap that many other modern dance pieces fall into of being exclusionary and jargon-laced (i.e., a show that only other dancers can appreciate or understand). It is a rarity to see cohesive storytelling in a modern dance performance (true, I have seen a handful of modern dance pieces where the dancer would be reciting a monologue as they moved, but usually it's quite jarring when it's done). I'm admittedly more or less of an absolute novice when it comes to analyzing modern dance (I used to go to modern dance shows with some frequency when I first moved to the city, but it's now been a few years, with the exception of perhaps seeing bluemouth's What The Thunder Said last month), so my opinion on this should be taken with more than the usual "grain of salt" (working on the assumption that my opinions on other matters matter at all).

Still, Eye Candy was not only a fine piece of modern dance, but also a fine piece of theatre.

Okay, now I need to write about Air Guitar.

And hit on Ms. Ralat some more.

Now all self-conscious about how he looks,

James "Look But Don't Touch, Ladies" Comtois


Blogger Patrick Pizzolorusso said...

I'm acting up on all things James and came across this. Guess what. I was in this! Thanks for seeing my work oh so long ago and of course, enjoying it enough to pen some positive words.

3:22 PM  

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