Theater archives

A Community Centered in a Bare Frame Challenges Singularity


Citizens or Individuals? A dilemma, and the title of a new abstract ensemble work by Cuban-born choreographer Judith Sánchez Ruíz. Dancers share floor space with a set (by Jonathan Cramer) resembling the bare frame of a canopy. One or another of the women moves within this frame, as if trusting its dubious security, but sometimes they set its spindly posts wobbling. Initial cool singularity, stillness, and simplicity give way to dynamic, gnarly encounters, spastic fits, and the delicately labored perambulations of unidentifiable creatures. Community forms, it seems, and individuals can no longer count on the reliability of their own truths. Carol Mullins’s lighting of the frame casts increasingly complex, entrancing geometric shadows, or renders it shadowless. Drummer Dafnis Prieto’s wonderful score—played live with Jason Lindner (piano and keyboards) and Dana Leong (cello)—slides through musical genres, singing of diversity within the whole.

Multimedia madness from Japan features cute guys and tech effects

Condors, those cute-as-buttons superheroes from Japan, hit big with their inexplicably titled Mars: Conquest of the Galaxy II, two evenings of pointless silliness. Forget Monty Python, to whom these 10 talented men are often compared. Those Brits can’t dance like this—rocking out, tearing up the stage like an MTV backup crew on speed. While Condors recall the childlike zaniness of John Lennon and his Beatles mates, they’re straight outta Japan’s contemporary youth culture. Dressed in students’ uniforms, they put on a variety show using everything that can be blasted from speakers, thrown up on a video screen, or dragged across a stage—from a lecture-demo on “fair-trade relationships” between businessmen and high school girls to a sushi western complete with gunslingers, vultures, and long shadows at high noon. Some bits go on too long; others merely wink and disappear before your eyes. Next time, guys, stay a while: Give us a Broadway run!