Never Look in the Mirror When You're Dancing
nytheatre.com review by Amy E. Witting
August 24, 2011
Never Look In The Mirror When You’re Dancing by Kay Scorah makes its U.S. premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival, after a successful world premiere last summer in Dublin. This simple and sweet documentary-style dance piece about the author’s dance-loving parents is beautiful to watch thanks to the precise and striking direction from David Keating. Keating’s smart choice of having a pre-show as the audience is settling into their seats immediately sets the tone for an enchanting thirty minutes. “My name is Kay. These are my parents,” starts Scorah on a stage set with a simple clothesline and wash bucket. Scorah, who is our narrator for this journey, takes us back and forth through decades, giving us glimmers of how her parents met, and how she was raised.
At the center of this piece are identical twins Erin Hunter and Faith Hunter Kimberling playing the roles of Scorah’s parents, as well as Scorah’s father and his identical twin brother Norman. From the moment we enter the theatre Hunter and Kimberling are dancing with their eyes tightly on each other. The sisters are detailed in every movement, hypnotic in places, and even when a bucketload of plastic balls are tossed on the stage by Scorah, while playing her three-year-old self, they never miss a step. At times it feels like these two women are dancing on air. Their focus and concentration on one another is admirable. We watch them dance as one as Scorah explains that certain things like scissors and trousers come in pairs. We believe that these two people were meant for each other, and it’s an extra treat when we get to see a film clip of her real parents dancing in their living room.
Keating has created a very specific world for the audience, and Scorah has developed a nice tribute to her loving parents. Her words are beautifully sculpted, and she too moves around the stage with ease. My only wish would be that she delved into the story further. We get sentences about major events where I think this team could afford to go further and create a more substantial piece. After only thirty minutes I felt a bit cheated, and I left wanting more. Hopefully they will go on to continue to develop this piece because the payoff that her parents are still “dancing in crowded houses” after all these years would be that much greater.