Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維 (webcowgirl) wrote,
Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維
webcowgirl

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One AM and Surf's Up (review of Déjà Donné)

Worthy Opponent decided to see Arab Strap tonight, leaving me home to read It Happened on Broadway (I actually found reading about the original production of Oklahoma kind of tearjerking) and surf like I'm not already online for a minimum of forty hours a week. There's a great story about dating in the internet age I'm going to have to wait until I get to work to finish. I also got really caught up in reading about Neil Gaiman, god knows why (although I'd guess that having his blog on my friends list is at the heart of the problem), which led to reading about his work on first amendment cases that have put cartoonists and cartoon store owners IN AMERICA in jail. How depressing.

At any rate: tonight we decided to go see Déjà Donné at On the Boards (after almost bagging in favor of going to a movie). After last night's lame fest, it was great to see a show that was just "good." Of course, saying that they were "just 'good'" is a very inadequate way of conveying how very good they were; it's just my way of saying that I wasn't emotionally moved by the performance, although I was really drawn into it. The performance started with an announcer dressed in white repeating almost verbatim the opening words of the Emcee of Cabaret, including the humorously appropriate "Outside it's cold, but inside it's hot!" He moved away from the dialogue, however, and emphasized the fantasy aspect of the evening that we were about to witness. Throughout the evening he would return to these lines of dialogues, even doing the bit about "Every last one of them a virgin! You don't believe me? Why not ask yourself?" This led into an extended dance sequence between the "virgin" and another dancer that became highly charged due to the storyline that had been set up for them by the announcer. The only other recurring theme was the use of the song "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," which I thought wasn't particularly important in terms of story telling.

The movement of the dancers was frequently naturalistic - there was lots of walking, lying down, standing and talking (and moving the lights all over the place, both individually - pointing lights at other dancers - and in bulk, in racks - a really unusual thing, but one which I liked, and that enabled some of the most rich lighting design I've ever seen). There were also crazed leaps that seemed to land wrongly (but obviously intentionally), unusual partner work (such a breath of fresh air!), and lots of group work, although rarely with all six dancers).

The interactions between the dancers became more emotionally charged as the evening wore on (was it really an hour and a half?) and relationships developed between them. One woman was sexually frustrated but couldn't seem to open up in front of the men; one man was tricked by another and spent the rest of the dance trying to catch the trickster. The movements were frequently sexual and (joyously) erotic; they grabbed crotches, nibbled on breasts, kissed necks, and stripped. I have rarely seen dance that ever captures people's sexuality well; Déjà Donné embraced it without ever being clumsy or gross. Amusingly enough, the piece ended with all of the cast members naked, in what was a very un-erotic montage of nakedness symbolizing vulnerability. The lights did take a very long time to come back on so that the ensemble members could all take fully-clothed bows - kind of a shame, really!

So even though it was very good, I didn't stand up and applaud with everyone else - I only do that if a show leaves me with tears in my eyes (or breathless with excitement). But it was SO nice to see something so very good when so much of what is produced in Seattle is so insular and repetetive. Afterwards we chatted with Brett Fetzer again, and I'm remembering now that he thought that adapting my favorite album of my childhood, The Point, into a stage play would be a good thing. I'd like to actually write about something substantial and not just do review stuff which I enjoy as a creative outlet but doubt will stand the test of time - like a play or a book would.

Wow, look, that took so long to write that he's made it home ...
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