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Helene

Whim W'him OUT-spoken

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Thanks to the generosity of the dancers and choreographers, I was able to see a production week run through of Whim W'him's OUT-spoken program, which premieres this Friday, June 3 at the Cornish Playhouse, and plays Saturday, June 4 and the following Friday-Saturday, June 10-11.

http://www.whimwhim.org/performances/

Set to a remix by Dylan Ward of piano version excerpts from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," Olivier Wevers' "A Disagreeable Tale of Duplicity" centers around a couple whose relationship is impacted by a range of characters embodied by the rest of the company. James Gregg's "Into you I go willingly" is a pas de deux for Patrick Kilbane and Jim Kent to an atmospheric score. The micromovements that open the piece remind us how much articulation these dancers have in the large, expansive movement that follows. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Delicious Pesticides," for the entire company, with its references to Quentin Tarantino films, shows a unique voice, and I found it a delight.

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Here are links to video rehearsal excerpts and photos (click to enlarge) from each of the works:

Olivier Wevers' "A Disagreeable Tale of Duplicity"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_1jO-XAcSE

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left: Tori Peil and Patrick Kilbane; right: Mia Monteabaro

James Gregg's "Into you I go willingly"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHhQ6VDDRL8

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Patrick Kilbane and James Kent

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Delicious Pesticides"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3D2O__x9_g

post-3390-0-64418800-1464669874_thumb.jppost-3390-0-63887300-1464669838_thumb.jp

left: front L-R: Tori Peil, Justin Reiter, Kyle Johnson; back L-R: Jim Kent, Mia Monteabaro, Patrick Kilbane, Thomas Phelan

right: Tori Peil, Jim Kent, Justin Reiter, Mia Monteabaro, Patrick Kilbane, Thomas Phelan, Kyle Johnson.

Photo Credits: Bamberg Fine Art

Video Credits: LEVYfilms

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Due to illness, last Saturday's performance was postponed to this Thursday, June 9. I'm very glad the theater was available, and that whoever was ill will recover for this weekend's performances.

All three pieces were enhanced by lighting (Michael Mazzola) and sets for the Wevers and Gregg (Danny Estrada) and projections for the Lopez Ochoa, and by costumes for all. It's always a joy to see what Mark Zappone will create for a work -- he did designs for Gregg and Lopez Ochoa -- and Ronalee Wear's for Wevers were also terrific. The lighting and sets made "A Disagreeable Tale of Duplicity" and "Into you I go willingly" different experiences than in the studio on a sunny day. Both are viscerally arresting in any setting, but both were substantially darker in their performance settings, with the first more biting and sharp, especially in the nearly claustrophobic space, and the second more emotionally resonant. The dancing begins and ends behind the set -- an upstage curtain of strands or a mid-stage tetris-like wall -- more or less visible, depending on the lighting, and that meant they never stopped moving.

Photos below are from Bamberg Fine Arts, to contrast with the shots from the studio posted above:

"A Disagreeable Tale of Duplicity" has a narrative thread: a couple is torn apart by society and tempters. most of whom are the most exaggerated and punchy in the work, with Justin Reiter's more subtle. Set to excerpts of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" set to piano and distorted through Dylan Ward's soundscape, it is simultaneously based on Wevers' personal experience and draws parallels and comments on the original story, particularly in the juxtaposition of the music, with its programmatic references. It is also a tour de force for Tori Peil, who gives a shattering performance in the central role.

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Kyle Johnson, Jim Kent, Patrick Kilbane, Tory Peil, and Thomas Phelan

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Kyle Johnson, Jim Kent, Patrick Kilbane, Tory Peil, and Thomas Phelan


"In you I go willingly," a duet for Patrick Kilbane and James Kent, exploits their contrasting, but complementary movement styles and physiques; Kilbane is pliant and plush, while Kent is generally more limby and edgy. The movement folds and unfolds, and throughout, it pauses and breathes, giving the audience a chance to soak in what has just occurred.

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Patrick Kilbane and Jim Kent

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Jim Kent and Patrick Kilbane


"Delicious Pesticides" delivers exactly as advertised: gangster-like bugs romp and threaten in a range of aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviors. It's a joy and a lark, and delicious is a good way to describe the work as well.

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Jim Kent, Justin Reiter, Tory Peil, Mia Monteabaro, Patrick Kilbane, Thomas Phelan, and Kyle Johnson

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Justin Reiter


I can't wait to see it again this weekend.

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It wasn't just the visceral beauty of Gregg's "Into you I go willingly," which seemed over in a second last night, or the neverending inventiveness of Lopez Ochoa's "Delicious Pesticides" that brought me back: it was the sense that I needed to see Wevers' "A Disagreeable Tale of Duplicity" again to absorb the layers of the work: the movement, the relationships between the dancers, and the relationships between the characters and the movement, all of which are inseparable. Performances are different from night to night, and so are viewers. One of the last sections for Tori Peil and Justin Reiter struck me as particularly powerful, vivid, and affecting last night.

After "Delicious Pesticides," I will never see "Son of a Preacher Man" the same way again. And maybe neck ties. In a work in which the entire company shines, Justin Reiter was on fire.

This has been my favorite Whim W'him program so far.

Last chance to see it is tonight.

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