Theater archives

A Stranger Finds Paradise Is Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be


In her program note for Yellow, which refers to her Asian ethnicity, Himiko Minato says the piece “explores both the reality and myth of the American Dream.” A tense, haunted figure, she plays a tormented pilgrim in a dark forest, involved with lethal human threats as well as a portentously symbolic rope hanging from above. The work draws on the tropes of butoh and traditional Japanese theater as well as rituals out of Martha Graham. Then, inexplicably, it lightens up and we get, apparently without irony, some homespun cheer—optimistic settlers gazing out toward a promising horizon—that might have been woven by Agnes de Mille. Throughout, the movement—overly dependent on classical ballet’s taut leg extensions, arrowing skyward, and its implacably pointed toes—seems ill-suited to the task at hand. One of the dancers sings too; the rope eventually coils itself upward, like a snake that can fly.