nytheatre.com review by Kelly McAllister
August 15, 2004
Ah, FringeNYC. It is always bringing surprises, pleasant and otherwise. Lifetime, a modern dance piece from Cyprus, contains surprises of both varieties. On the pleasant side, this young company, founded in 1998, aims to bring contemporary dance to Cyprus, a country where little to none existed before. Their name, Amfidromo Chorotheatro, translates as “moving in two ways: dance and theatre.” I applaud their commitment to such lofty goals, and wish them well. Indeed, any company brave enough to present modern dance in FringeNYC, which seems to excel at presenting shows that thrive on ridiculing that particular art form, deserves a medal.
As for the downside to the production, well, it is not the most exciting thing to see in this festival. In the piece, three women go through many of the stages common to all women in their lifetimes—birth, maturation, sex, marriage, etc. This is done through a series of movements, by donning a few costume pieces, and by manipulating some hanging mirrors. Not too far into the piece, a fourth dancer appears—yet another woman, who seems to bring nothing new to the piece other than a fourth dancer going through the same moves as everyone else.
I kept hoping something would happen that was unexpected, but that was not to be. Not that the dancers aren’t talented—they are. All four move with grace and power, and I was never confused as to what was supposed to be happening. But the choreography, while pretty, is quite repetitive and, after a while, dull. Also, after going through birth, childhood, puberty, sex, and marriage, the piece ends. I was hoping to see how the choreographer tackled some of the more challenging aspects of life, such as getting old and dying.
According to the program, the piece is about time, which “has always been puzzling. It has been hope at times and despair at others. Time is independent. I am grateful of the mundane things of everyday life. In there lies the beauty of life, helping to ease the decay resulting from time ruthlessly moving on, leading each one of us to their end. Without even asking us…” I wasn’t sure how that fit in with what I saw, but I thought it only fair to put it in the review, so that people know what they are striving for. The set is bare, with a large screen at the back of the space where images of women appear, from baby girls to older women. I enjoyed the sparseness of the design, and felt that the video projections added a nice element to the show.