Riding a wave of enthusiasm for spelling champions, Cristina Septien and her four-year-old South Pleasant Company have mounted a delicate piece of movement theater about a bee. With performances craftily spread over three weeks (it opened last Tuesday in an uptown cabaret space), To One I Saw Small is about things dance cannot really be about: wishes, fears, the past, the future. One of the leading characters never says a word and eventually disappears. Projections indicate the passage of time. Furniture rolls in and out on casters, and its placement carries symbolic weight.
Speller Ruthie (Diana Buirski), who ages from fourth grade to high school in under an hour, does a terrific job with a difficult role. Her father (Chris Corporandy) spends most of the show in a fugue state. The utter lack of irony in the writing and the playing may put hipsters off; To One ranges between charming and sentimental, betraying its New England roots (SPC originated in Amherst, Massachusetts). Too wordy to count as dance, too sober to register as “performance,” it’s a strange hybrid. Maybe its true audience is ‘tweens.