Razzle-Dazzle ‘Em!


What fun it must be to claim performers as resourceful and giving as Zvi Gotheiner’s troupe. Fun, too, to be part of ZviDance and make a huge, unique world in each piece. Two first-rate works in the Altogether Different series (Joyce Theater, January)—GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and Clearing—displayed opposite sides of the company’s adept stagecraft. GDP‘s fancy tickled me while Clearing knocked the wind out of me. GDP played with adorable toys—a dancing dog, flapping butterfly, swimming frogs—but the athletic, fleet, and lyrical dancers were themselves toyed with, partnered like puzzle pieces or stretchy taffy. I loved the delicious accents of bright color in costumes and props. Clearing seemed to evoke our dangerous times via scary childhood memories of dark woods and dark moods. Strong performances, Scott Killian’s astounding collage of foreboding sounds and music, and Mark London’s magical lighting created a nightmare not easy to shake.

Keely Garfield Sinister Slapstick seduces audiences with music, color, and whimsical performance. All the better to make us smile—wryly—while we think. Garfield launched her new piece, Deep, at Altogether Different, reworking The Wizard of Oz. A spinning, gleaming UFO of vinyl (Dorothy’s storm-tossed house?) became a portable pool full of hedonists; a corps of gyrating monkey guards drilled to rock music; and Lawrence Goldhuber, in a shiny, lime-green suit, played a bawdy Wizard as only he can. (Feel free to project anything you’d like onto this daffy scenario.) Garfield, our Dorothy, tantalized Goldhuber in a game of erotic brinkmanship, but suddenly sprouting three clones in red-sequined pumps, she led her sisters in cartoonish revenge: Everybody beats the Wiz! The brilliant, insightful duet My Mother Was A Four-Alarm Fire (1998) and the intriguing, if insufficiently trimmed, Free Drinks for Ladies With Nuts (2002) rounded out a program of enjoyable spectacle and subversion.

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