nytheatre.com review by Pamela Butler
August 25, 2009
PNDC is Patricia Noworol's new dance company, located here in New York, comprised of international artists and dancers. Noworol, Polish born, studied in Germany and the U.S. and finds New York is the dream spot for artists like herself.
Is there something new in the theatre these days? I've now seen it in two FringeNYC pieces, Circuits being one of them. It is a blending of the process and the production. The director or choreographer, presenting their work to the audience, feels inclined to interject correction and comment, in the middle of the piece. They talk about themselves, their thinking. The players are being themselves, also living in and out of the formal piece.
This makes more sense to me in a dance piece than it does in a stage piece, because what we do see here is the passion of the dancers to master their form, to show us the rewards for their discipline and hard work, to express themselves in dance.
When the audience enters, the stage is set almost like a green room. Dancers are variously applying makeup, warming up or sitting, staring into space. Noworol, a remarkable woman, both in her physical presence and her talent and courage, warms up her beautifully cared for body, while we get seated, settled and the show begins.
The venue director is unflappable as she projects over the static, broken, and humming sounds of "electricity and circuitry." Noworol uses a microphone with a long cable to talk about her work as she moves around the stage and describes what we will see. She says the dance contains improvisation, words, and sound and she's very proud of her dancers and lauds them. As she sums up her opening comments, the lights finally dim
She reads the list of benefactors and cultural institutions that have supported her and continue to support her. She thanks people. She is matter of fact, genuine, and clearly proud of her company, whose members are: Chelsea Bonosky, Nicholas Bruder, Patricia Noworol, Matthew Oaks, Christina Noel Reaves, Elliot Reiland, and Mika Yanagihara.
They are full of youthful vitality and energy; their bodies toned, lean, and trained. In the dance, they attract and repel each other; tease, fight, and play; dance in harmony and discord; explore the connections of daily life, the circuits we constantly create and disconnect from. They are sometimes focused and intelligent, sometimes hesitant with youthful anxiety.
Noworol, taking up her microphone, talks about her dancers as commentary. She also chides them, corrects them, makes demands of them and coaxes them like children, as they sometimes behave like children.
It is a different experience having the wizard come out from behind the curtain to talk to us while we are watching the story she's in charge of and also a part of. If this is fallout from reality TV, it certainly translates uniquely here. Or maybe it's related to the DVDs we all rent with lots of extra special behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew. That was a novelty for awhile, and it is a novelty in Circuits as well. I felt a bit like a voyeur.
The music by Alva Noto, lighting by Simon Cleveland, and the stage set all work well to create a mood of empty space and coldness, adding all the more to the need for connections. Costumes by Malgosia Turzanska have an outer space feel, using "beams" of fabric to criss-cross shirts, skirts, dresses, pants.
An interesting evening that I'm still thinking about.