Friday, June 8, 2012

All the world's a Stage Stage Stage Stage

Cast of Beginning of The End of The...: Graham, Solomons, Fire, Mattocks, Setterfield, Gordon, Cunningham, Cohn, Skeist (Photo: Andrew Eccles)
David Gordon and Valda Setterfield (Photo: Andrew Eccles)

In the playwright's head (and here that would be the head of writer/director/choreographer David Gordon as well as the head of David Gordon playing the head of Luigi Pirandello), the world is not constructed of four primal elements--air, fire, water and earth--but of four stages. And the world of David Gordon's Beginning of The End of The..., as manifest at Joyce SoHo, is composed of four stages separated by hop-able gaps and demarcated by rectangles formed by neatly-placed lines of pristine white tape. And the mutable world and mutable narratives inside each of those rectangles are made of numerous characters--each rambunctiously alive with his or her back story, resentments, desires and passionate intensity.

Gus Solomons jr and David Skeist

Based on Pirandello texts--Six Characters in Search of an Author, A Character's Tragedy and The Man With The Flower In His Mouth--Gordon's Beginning runs only 60 minutes but packs enough verbal wit, choreographic elegance, visual playfulness and emotional vitality to supply 60 other dance makers. Vividly leading Gordon's deft Pick Up Performance Co(s) troupe in this cyclical tour de force on love and mortality, on autonomy and loyalty, on art's illusion and the theatricality of reality, are Gus Solomons jr (a harried and somewhat irascible commuter), David Skeist (a fierce man wrestling, poetically, with a fierce diagnosis) and Gordon's actual leading lady and wife in real life, exquisite Valda Setterfield who, at one point, reminds us that, unlike the others, SHE wears black for DRAMATIC EFFECT! These three performances are flashes of lightning skimming over the smooth, subtle, dependable flow of colleagues Charlotte Cohn, Scott Cunningham, Norma Fire, Karen Graham and Aaron Mattocks. "What a pleasure, watching good wrappers wrap," someone says here. And I can only add, What a pleasure, watching David Gordon's players.

With lighting by Jennifer Tipton

Beginning of The End of The... runs through June 30, a happy bit of news for a dance show. So, take advantage. Get schedule and ticket information plus David Gordon's own cheeky description of the piece here.

Joyce SoHo
155 Mercer Street (between Houston and Prince Streets), Manhattan
(directions)

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