Live review: Hedwig Dances: “Bohemian Trilogy”
The stern utility of Susan Marshall created the piece as an “unplugged,” shorter version of a cabaret-in-the-round made for the Spiegeltent at Bard College in 2007. At the , where Hedwig Dances first performed it, its peculiar festivities and muted hostilities evaporated among 300-or-so seats (some onstage). But here the environment fits the mood. In a room like a bunker, Sawdust feels like a diversion dreamt up to pass time underground while some nightmare rages above. Six dancers, including guest artist Joseph Paulson from Marshall’s New York company, smile and offer handshakes to the front row despite internal dynamics suggesting the strain of captivity. It ends once with a pleasantly jangly dance to a French waltz, “Trois Petites Notes de Musique,” then again with bows that blur unsettlingly into post-show conversation. Maybe this group’s condition isn’t so different from our own.suits Sawdust Palace Suite to a T. Choreographer
Unfortunately, the space does no favors for the other two pieces in Hedwig’s dancer Bill Young and Colleen Thomas. Walking needs far more room to spread out—Rodriguez’s choreography stays low but devours lateral space—while Rein requires warmer acoustics and darker blackouts than this venue can provide (it killed at in 2009). Pro lighting designer Margaret Nelson creates what magic she can, working from her own designs and originals by Rich Murray (Rein) and Mark Stanley (Sawdust).’s Walking, , and Rein, Bellow, an abstract, quasi-mystical dramedy by
Still, if diminished, these works survive the theater. Hedwig’s ensemble is one of the scene’s most cohesive, not least because it’s seen very little turnover in recent years. Rodriguez and Victor Alexander move like brothers; Jessie and Maray Gutierrez, meanwhile, actually are sisters. Alitra Cartman comes and goes guarded, appropriate to her enigmatic Sawdust persona—one lingering exit holding an audience member’s hand is especially charged—and Rein’s general feeling of malaise. Justin Deschamps is missed, out with injury; Benjamin Law of Mad Shak and CDI/Concert Dance, Inc. fills in for Rein while Paulson picks up Deschamps’s Sawdust role.