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Arts & Entertainment Preview - July 1998
B Y N A N C Y D A L V A & J O H N I S T E L
The World's Stage
The title of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, like that
of its companion comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, refers to an
auspicious day in the Elizabethan calendar, and a cause for celebration. Masks
are donned, identities are hidden, and love is lost and won. Lincoln Center
Theater's Twelfth Night promises to be a dreamy event indeed: Nicholas
Hytner's cast features the Oscar-winner Helen Hunt as Viola, Kyra Sedgwick as
Olivia, and the stage stalwarts Brian Murray and Philip Bosco as comic relief.
The set designer Bob Crowley plans to outfit the Vivian Beaumont stage with a
water-filled pool in which the performers will frolic. Other offerings in
Lincoln Center Festival '98 (July 7-26; 212-721-6500) won't need a pool to make
a splash. Theatre de Complicite, the mesmerizing London-based ensemble that
floored audiences two years ago with The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol,
revives The Street of Crocodiles, based on the diaries of a Holocaust
victim. Israel's Gesher Theatre contributes a harrowing Holocaust play as well:
Adam Resurrected, which centers on a circus clown who survives a
concentration camp by entertaining inmates on their way to the gas chamber. The
Gesher also brings Joshua Sobol's Village, a lyrical meditation on
Palestine before Israeli statehood. Finally, La Fura dels Baus, the
spectacle-mad Spanish troupe, puts a cyberspin on Goethe with F@ust: Version
3.0. Featuring everyone from Berlioz to Brian Eno on its soundtrack, the
show amplifies Duke Orsino's dictum, "If music be the food of love, play on." --J.I.
Summer, When it Sizzles
Just the dance for a sultry night is Paul Taylor's new tango number, called
(after its music) Piazzolla Caldera. "You want sex?" Taylor seems to be
asking. "I'll give you sex." Taylor being Taylor, the dance is not, as in many
of the current popular tango entertainments, a series of actual tangos. Rather,
it is an extended riff on the whole essence and idea of the tango -- not merely
the form but what informs the form. That is, heat, passion, aggression,
seduction, betrayal, desire, and even a touch of death, by means of the
swoon and the dying fall. Costumed in full garter-belt-and-black-stockings
sleaze by Santo Loquasto, Taylor's women don't so much ham it up as gam
and glam it up, with a deeply vulgar and voluptuous plié
by Francie Huber the iconic center of the enterprise. The Taylor men,
deliciously sinister in their vestigial elements of Buenos Aires chic (picture
a black vest over a bare chest), go for broke here, throwing elegance to the
wings in favor of machismo. This is a particularly great moment for the
company, which -- like any longtime dance group -- moves through various phases as dancers come, grow, and go. It currently achieves the modern-dance ideal: star power harnessed to the greater good of the ensemble. Taylor's dancers create a fabulous unity of impression, yet any one of them can hold the stage solo. Taylor himself -- perennially handsome, diffident, dazzling -- takes to the stage for a curtain call in his good-boy blue blazer and, without trying in the slightest, holds your heart. You can catch The Paul Taylor Dance Company at the venerable Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, in Lee, Massachusetts (June 30 - July 5), with Piazzolla Caldera on one program, and a disturbing new work
called The Word on the other; the World Financial Center in New York
City (July 7); the American Dance Festival, in Durham, North Carolina (July
9-11); and The Spencer Theater in Alto, New Mexico (July 17-18). --N.D.
|Tango meets modern dance|
On the Waterfront
For the third summer running Chicago hosts a theater festival with fare that is
strictly local. Theater on the Lake presents nine professional companies at a
rustic venue that in the 1920s was a recovery center for rich kids with
tuberculosis. Smack dab off the intersection of Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive,
Theater on the Lake is now one of the best theater deals in America. A $60
subscription buys ducats to nine shows presented by a wide range of the city's
best companies, performing on successive weeks through the summer (June
23-August 29; 312-742-7995).
This year's lineup includes a premiere by the
venerable improv company Second City; Our Town, produced by the
Steppenwolf Theatre Company; the brazen, anarchic
Neo-Futurists, who return
with their long-running hit, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind;
Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, produced by the Chicago Theatre Company,
devoted to African-American work; and the American Theatre Company's
Scapin, an innovative adaptation of Molière. The directors Susan
Booth and Curt Columbus act as the festival's artistic scouts, attending
seventy-five to a hundred area shows a year in search of the right program.
Columbus admits that last year, his first, was "an experiment." But the results
demanded a repeat. Now the mission statement has been honed. "The vision
is twofold," Columbus says. "To represent the variety of Chicago communities,
and to represent Chicago theater as a community." --J.I
Nancy Dalva is the author of Dance Ink: Photographs.
John Istel is a senior editor at Stagebill.
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Copyright © 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.