Theater archives

An Unfathomable Plot, Burdened With Magic Reality


Mark Foehringer Dance Project/San Francisco features a slew of technically adept, personable dancers whom I’d love to see in something other than the baffling Diadorim: The Devil to Pay in Backlands. Its story line, detailed in a 25-paragraph synopsis, conjures up a kind of South American western liberally laced with mysticism. It harbors a soulful gang leader, his mortal enemy, his lace-clad sweetheart, and most importantly, a feisty young woman who falls in love with him, disguises herself as a man to aid his cause, and goes to her death. The devil has a role too, but none of these parts is acted with conviction. From time to time the obsessively detailed plot gives way to pure dancing, and Foehringer’s considerable choreographic skill—and the dancers’ gifts—shine clear. I particularly admired a ruminative homoerotic duet rife with emotional subtlety, in which even acrobatic moves look like the characters’ natural means of expression.