Shape-Shifting

Make Yourself a Spectacle

It's hard not to giggle with pleasure when you realize that the semicircle of upright and fallen folding chairs in Yu's solo My Father's Teeth in My Mother's Mouth represents said teeth. And when Yu performs big, bold steps reminiscent of a Chinese peasant dance on one side of the "mouth" and moves more softly and sinuously on the other, she brings before us the parents who left her a lousy dental situation (we learn about it through a taped dialogue between her and her dentist). Besides dancing wonderfully in front of projected slides designed by Peter Melville, she does some engaging things with a metal container—shaking it like a maraca or spilling out white teeth like dice in a no-win game.

In A Good Man Falls, Durning plays with the notion of celebrity. There's even a mirror ball. Steffany George and Andrea Johnston dance stylishly, if perplexingly, and play the roles of fans and interviewers. Durning first lumbers in wearing an astronaut's padded suit and helmet and responds to questions with heartfelt clichés, recalling how the stars once called out to her. But nighttime crickets segue to Judy Garland wishing on a star, and Durning, now in a slinky black dress (costumes by Naoka Nagata), dances against similar clichés in taped stage-door interviews. As the words in Robert Garland's sound design veer toward incoherence, the performers' movements become stiff and nervous. A countdown elicits neither rockets nor spotlights, only teeny flashlights twinkling in the dark. Some of the logic eludes me, but there's nothing equivocal about Durning's dynamite performing.

Durning and Yu's collaboration, a tree plus a tree is a forest, has the air of a pièce d'occasion, rewarding primarily in that it lets us look at these women a little longer.

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