Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Phillips-Fein dreamed up

Jesse Phillips-Fein is a progressive-minded choreographer who makes space for whimsy, absurdity and sensuality in her politically-oriented dance theater. I can't say I followed every detail in own, Owned--a 40-minute ensemble work about what she clearly sees as our discouraging and apathetic "post-hope" American moment. But I did appreciate her way with striking, indelible imagery--such as a pair of dancers dreamily munching on running shoes' laces and tongues. And her dancers lend themselves to such out-there moments with conviction, even abandon.

Phillips-Fein benefits from some interesting collaborators in sound designers Kevin Farrell and Phil Rodriguez (a scary-brilliant soundscape that opens with spooky splicing and distortion of President Obama's many usages of the word "hope") and lighting designer Shane Moan (whose niftiest contribution, the illusion of light emanating a tv screen, concludes the show). I cant say I cared for having a sudden flashback of Sarah Palin cracking, "How's that hope-y, change-y thing workin' out for ya?" (Get the hell out of my head, Sarah!!!) But I can't fault Phillips-Fein for a noxious effect she surely did not intend.

Performances by Dasha Chapman, Kristen Domingue, Emma Grace Skove-Epes, Kate Lieberman, Jason Sosnowski and Nadia Tykulsker

own, Owned continues at Theater for the New City's Dream Up Festival on Friday, August 26 at 7pm, Saturday, August 27 at 5pm and Sunday, August 28 at 5pm.

Tickets and complete Dream Up Festival information

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (corner of East Tenth Street), Manhattan

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