According to a friend who attended a seminar about the creation of the work, choregrapher Pat Graney did not read the work, and her intention was not to tell the story as written by Darger, although composer Amy Denio did read at least most of Darger's prose. In her own words (from the program)
I usually cringe when I see an "Artist's Statement" in a program, but Graney's was direct, and, for a change, I could tell whether what I saw on stage had any resemblance to the artist's intention. From what I saw last night, she did, although I don't think her vision is completely successful yet. the Vivian girls is a rather static piece. When the girls become more "real" at the end and more consistently lively, the movement didn't hold my attention the way the tension-filled poses, slo-mo shapes, and slow adagio-like movements with short burst of movement that reflected/reflected upon the projected Darger watercolors in the background. I found the end of the piece a bit disappointing. I'm not sure if it was because the shift to more animated movement was jarring compared to the slower dancing, if it was due to an unmotivated transition, or if it simply wasn't interesting movement.
Rather than dwell on the eerily eccentric life of Mr. Darger himself, I was drawn to create the Vivian girls as real characters wandering through Darger's landscape of beauty, horror and destruction. They move towards the reality of becoming real girls - making the journey from paper to flesh.
What I found fascinating was the use of pointe work -- a single piece for a a girl with butterfly wings in the first act -- and three butterflies on pointe throughout much of the second act. It was done almost entirely in sixth position, and all three women had excellent control over their feet. There wasn't a bobble in sight throughout. One of the dancers did an exit where she crouched on pointe, and in that crouched position walked off the set on pointe. I later found that she learned to dance on pointe for this part.
This piece is intended to evolve as it tours nationally; I'm hoping part two is more unified by the end of tour. Graney planning to bring it back to Seattle at the end of the tour, and I'm planning to see how the piece concludes then.