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A CurtainUp Review
(w)HOLE, The Whole History Of Life on Earth
LAVA is an all-female dance-theater-circus company. As you may be able to guess from their name, the performance works they create are linked to nature in some way. This particular work at the Flea Theater focuses on geology, and the history of the earth's changes (hence the Stephen Hawking-esqe show title). There are flips, trapeze work, group balancing, and twists and turns, among other things. Performed with the audience surrounding all sides of a square mat area, and with volcano videos off in the corner, the energy level in this small theater is always at peak, whether the music is their own electronic-like theme song or the folksy Devendra Banhart.
The thematic aspects in the content of this show are often elusive, even mysterious. I'll admit that I can't explain some of their prop and movement choices -- beats me why one of them sometimes put on a shiny pilot's cap and sunglasses, or why they chose the moments they did to do weight balancing tricks. But it doesn't really matter. These ladies rule. They are ferocious, fervent, feminine, and not at all frail. If it takes a not-completely-clear throughline for them to create the movement and moments that they do, so be it.
There is, of course, some spectacle involved, but this is old school spectacle of the most wholesome kind and definitely okay for kids . In front of you -- live -- are female bodies being pushed to their limits, and creating new capabilities through their relationships with one another. No special effects, no computer-generated film sequences.
Sarah East Johnson leads LAVA, but there is no one star of the show. Each company member makes the performance their own, sometimes being serious, more often being silly or satirical with themselves and each other. And one is sorry to see the performance end. I, for one, wanted more.
I realize that I lapsed in my tumbling attendance because what I enjoy most is watching these original pros. But still, I grabbed a new class schedule on my way out of the theater, and have serious intentions for the future.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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>6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by our editor.
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