Dance Theater Jail Piece '51802'
Chloe Veltman | SF Weekly Calendar review
| September 2007
In her 2005 dance theater piece,
One Window, creator/choreographer Erika Chong Shuch explored
the positive side of confinement — how limitations can
often be empowering, freeing even. Her latest, equally charismatic
production takes the opposing view of incarceration in examining
the ways that being locked up constricts the person behind
bars and also effectively imprisons loved ones on the outside.
Shuch, who not only creates and directs the multidimensional
work but also performs the central role and designs the costumes,
tells a story that is as intensely personal as it is universal.
This is quite an achievement when you consider the strange
and seemingly intractable mix of ideas that make up the show,
from sweetly sung old blues and soul songs and shaggy, loose-shouldered
dance steps to the avalanche of identical white rag dolls and
the metaphor of being stuck at the bottom of a well. Shuch's
angst-ridden, autobiographical narrative about her complex
and emotionally harrowing relationship with a prison inmate
becomes overbearing at times. But the production's quirky-dynamic
approach to movement, visual imagery, light, and sound combined
with fluid performances from Shuch's four collaborators (Dwayne
Calizo, Jennifer Chien, Tommy Shepherd, and Danny Wolohan)
keep the work from falling into an abyss of self-loathing.
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