Saturday, September 17, 2016

Take a walk through Colleen Thomas's childhood.

Dance artist Colleen Thomas grew up on Governors Island in the 1970s, long before it became today's popular playground for the creative arts and healthy outdoor fun. Her new interdisciplinary site work, Welcome Home, offers an impressions of an apartment--and life--much like the one she knew. She fills it with generations of relatives, artifacts, visual arts, music and social dancing. It's nostalgia for sure, but nostalgia with a potent kick--that energy provided by the many surprises that Building 10A's rooms hold and the edgy effect of stuffing twenty audience members and a corps of agile, fearlessly turbulent dancers into the same cramped spaces.

For the most part, Welcome Home is an enjoyable forty minutes. But not everything that happens in Building 10A, in the island's quiet Nolan Park area, is upbeat. Thomas evokes the racial divisions of the times, and there's at least one tiny room--darkened, hurried through--that looks like a nightmare in progress. We're hustled away, perhaps for the best.

On Friday, Thomas's dad was on hand in another room, one open to the light of day, to briefly guide us through old family photos.  The father/daughter resemblance is remarkable. Someone asked him how it felt to be back on the island.

"Weird," he said.

Performers: Samantha Allen, Keith Johnson, Saradiane Mosko, Jessica Stroh, Pedro Osorio, Kathy Stephens, Jim Stephens, Colleen Thomas, Darrin Wright, Olivia Young, Dylan Young, Bill Young

Visual Design: Rebecca Makus
Video Installation: Jason Akira Somma
Music: John McGrew
Costume Design: Rachel Jones Bellas
Dramaturgy: Adrian Silver

Welcome Home's remaining shows run today and tomorrow at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm.

(If you go, I strongly recommend that you also take advantage of some of the last chances to see the profoundly moving Michael Richards: Winged  exhibition in The Arts Center in Building 110, right off the Soissons ferry landing. Click here for information and gallery schedule.)

Click here for complete ferry information for Governors Island and here for Welcome Home tickets. Advance purchase is required as each performance accommodates only 20 audience members. You're advised to take a ferry leaving your departure point at least one hour before the start of the show you plan to attend.

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