Some characters are silent, like Toni Melaas (Netta Yerushalmy in some performances), who whips her body around inches from her visitor, or A. Apostol, who—in The Pod Project’s spookiest scene—sits at the bottom of a dimly lit well and slowly turns to gaze up at you, revealing that she’s nursing what looks like a white cat (stuffed but moving slightly as it sucks). Others are very talkative. Bob Moss—wearing a dressing gown and surrounded by books—invites me to sit down in his cozy den, while he slyly disses the other performers as inexperienced, compared with those in the glory days of theater; at the same time, he sagely commends Bannon and advises me to keep an open mind. Tricia Nelson (dressed like Heidi, blond pigtails and all) bustles in after I’ve seated myself at a restaurant table and rattles off the menu specials (improbably long German words). No, she’s not going to offer me water; she’s going to play a lovely melody on the rims of the trayful of glasses.

Faith Pilger and Rebecca Stenn in Stenn’s "Mirah."
Alexis Silver
Faith Pilger and Rebecca Stenn in Stenn’s "Mirah."
Tricia Nelson in Nancy Bannon’s "The Pod Project"
Florence Baratay
Tricia Nelson in Nancy Bannon’s "The Pod Project"

Details

Rebecca Stenn and Ben Munisteri: ‘Chopped and Screwed’
Joyce Soho
June 11 through 14

Nancy Bannon’s The Pod Project
Dance New Amsterdam
June 10 through 14

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Some performers address each visitor as a friend, a confidant, although our ability to interact with them is circumscribed. Marc Kenison—absurdly jolly for a human caterpillar immobilized in a striped chrysalis—speaks of his interest in playing squash, maybe with his dentist, and tearfully, over-defensively denies that he’s gay (in case I might be thinking that he is). He quickly acknowledges a remark of mine, but doesn’t deviate from his text. When Jennifer Gillespie, in 19th-century attire, takes me to her very humble domain, I sit down on the camp cot with her, while she speaks movingly of her hopeless love for a man who’s attracted to her prettier sister. I shake my head when she says she’s plain, and listen with sympathy to her Chekhovian tale. I touch her shoulder, but I don’t speak. I say “of course,” though, when Risa Steinberg (black dress, heels, pearls) asks me if I’ll dance with her. And it’s impossible not to speak to Liapis, when she’s very close to me in a red-rope line, trying on a series of wigs for my approval, appearing crazier by the second. “Ouch!” she says, and I’m gone. Three minutes, and another’s life awaits me.

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