Saturday, April 30, 2011

Suspended Cirque's “Subterranea: An Urban Fairytale” at the Connelly Theater

Developed from their earlier “Urbanopolis,” which ran at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, “Subterranea: An Urban Fairytale” is the latest production from underappreciated aerial troupe extraordinaire Suspended Cirque. Opening with Joshua Dean's futuristic hobo Pan making small, uh, "talk" (Pan uses nonsense-speak) with the incoming audience, “Subterranea” can best be described as Dr. Seuss gone cyber. As a synthesized voice welcomes us to our visit to this strange land, Pan helpfully pantomimes the consequences of cell phone use and photography during the performance before the curtains part to reveal three amorphous bundles dangling in midair. Bathed in red lighting against the blackness of the stage, chandeliers crafted from empty, upside-down water bottles hanging from hoops come into focus. As the purple fabric begins to writhe, the cocoons conjure up an “Alien” creepiness. After slowly unfolding from their aerial wombs, which morph into sturdy strips, a trio of gothic female extraterrestrials (the troupe's tall blonds Angela Jones and Kristin Olness as Prima and Hecate, and its petite brunette Michelle Dortignac as Echo) perform an alluring modern dance in midair. They're trying to entice our protagonist, The Man, played by Suspended Cirque's lanky vaudevillian straight man Ben Franklin, who has just descended—via a white fabric strip—into their dark underworld.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door at Slant Magazine.

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