Maureen Fleming La MaMa E.T.C.
74A East 4th Street
Thursday through Saturday at 7:30, Sunday at 2:30
With Decay of the Angel Maureen Fleming continues along her singular path, creating picturesque, one-woman multimedia shows rooted in butoh practice. This one, rife with metaphoric implications, takes off from a Japanese legend about an angel's revealing her "celestial dance" to a fisherman who has snared her wings. Abetted by photography, notably from the celebrated Lois Greenfield; haunting abstract landscapes from set and light man Christopher Odo; and other contributions that include ikebana, Fleming deploys her body in slow, slow, slow sculptural transformations ranging from the geological and botanical to the animal and human. Her work evokes rarefied Japanese arts, to be sure, but also circus feats (from trapeze artists and contortionists), and the strain of maverick invention (and self-invention) indigenous to American culture. Fleming is not, from the available evidence, a resourceful choreographer, not even a particularly compelling performer. But when she swathes her nude body in miles of gauze animated by a wind machine and lit to look like fire, you cave right in to her theatrical know-how.