Sister Act

Wendy Osserman, a thoughtful, intelligent Smith College alumna, makes dances with gentle physicality and acerbic wit. In her Re:Sisters, which reopens at Dance Theater Workshop December 17, six distinctive women speak and move through an hour-long, meditative reflection on sisterhood. They tell personal anecdotes that address rivalry, self-esteem, and leadership among siblings; the international cast affirms the universality of sisterly issues— both familial and societal.

Osserman astutely opened her show last June at the tiny Ubu Repertory Theater, whose intimate scale concentrated our view of the performers' relaxed pacing and projection. The theatrical venue focused us on the dramatic rather than kinetic aspects of this subtly drawn movement memoir, enhanced by Susannah Hewson's delicate, attentive lighting; DTW's Philip W. Sandström will light this run.

Blond, wholesome-looking Victoria Lundell and fiery, exotic Despina Sophia Stamos scrap, eventually reaching a transitory truce. Small, reticent Lisa Walker bemoans being the "little, little, littlest," the least significant. The others cradle her in outstretched arms, but also illustrate her point by failing to notice her slipping from their grasp.

Barcelona-born waif Nuria Divi keens sadly, then wails like a madwoman, while wiry, fair-haired Debra E. Welinder writhes on the ground and metamorphoses into a butterfly. Stamos orders Stefanie Nelson around like a slave— or a baby sister. A philosophical Divi soliloquizes about trying to find a leader worth following as Walker rhapsodizes about the pleasant nonresponsibility of being a follower.

They follow, alternating leaders, dancing, then hand in hand traipse off. Whether their conditions are chosen, inflicted, or both is anyone's opinion. We're left to form our own. But Osserman finds cosmic implications in personal experience, and maybe her title, without its colon, implies that this group doesn't intend to take its situation lying down.

 
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