|Sarah Ware and Sifiso Mazibuko|
in a London performance of Dancers.
(photo: Ieva Blaževičiūtė)
At 45 minutes, Dancers is a slight but rich work of physical theater from Ohio's Wrought Atlas Theatre Ensemble. Originally written by Emma Dante for her Sicilian troupe and set to Italian pop many decades old, Dancers depicts an elderly woman's fantasy as she reminisces about romance and marriage to the love of her life. Its two actors--Sarah Ware and Sifiso Mazibuko--share choreographic credits with its translator and director Francesca Spedalieri.
Ware portrays the aged, ailing widow, and Mazibuko is the deceased husband magically emerging from one of two old, battered trunks of keepsakes. At first, both resemble life-sized marionettes. They wear soft cloth masks attached to their grey hairpieces. With alterations in posture and body language, clever shedding and donning of clothing, the performers become suddenly young and then reflect the progression of their lives as memories unfold, vivid stories within a story. There's sexy, exuberant courtship, merry jitterbugging, a wedding, a few pregnancies and parenthood, all told mostly through interactive gesture, dance, nonverbal vocalizing and that music. Quando, quando, quando, quando...! Words, when they come, have a visceral quality as if birthed straight from the heart rather than the head.
Dancers benefits from energetic, appealing performances--especially the all-around flexibility of Ware and Mazibuko who, by the way, has one of the most beautiful smiles you will ever see. Let me show it to you right here.
One show remains: Friday, August 28 at 8:45. For information and tickets, click here.
344 East 14th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), Manhattan
For information on all programming of the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), continuing through August 30, click here.