MARIA VAI COM AS OUTRAS
nytheatre.com review by Robin Reed
Regina Nejman certainly knows how to fill a space. In her first
evening-long piece, Maria Vai Com As Outras, she manages to pack
the empty University Settlement full of life, sound, rhythm and an
energy that goes from high and electric to quiet and introspective. I
walked into the theater sweaty, out of breath and flustered (in a
Fringe-y Frenzy I went to the Henry Street Settlement instead of the
University Settlement, then had to sprint the 10 crowded blocks to
arrive in the nick of time) and after the hour-long piece, left just as
breathless as when I walked in.
August 15, 2002
The title, which translates into "Maria Who Follows The Others," is taken from a popular Brazilian saying that describes a person who follows the will of the group or someone without a very strong sense of self. Nejman and her company each play a girl (and one guy) named Maria. Yep, they’re all named Maria. They bang on the walls for Maria. They run around looking for Maria. They cry out for Maria. They are all at once in search of themselves, each other, and the balance between individuality and fitting in.
Nejman blurs boundaries and breaks rules. Her choreography is fresh and incorporates everything from ballet to martial arts to gymnastics and acrobatics. The soundtrack rocks—several times I found my feet uncontrollably tapping along to beats ranging from traditional Samba to Lou Reed.
Maria is a journey taken on by a vibrant group of young dancers. They are, in spots, a little green, but that only adds to the beauty of the piece. They tackle it with a delightful fearlessness and a refreshing sense of humor. It’s so rare to actually see dancers having fun. Their individuality shines through, challenging their status as a listless Maria. I wish I could put names and faces together in order to give specific applause to each performer, as each brought a unique life to the piece.
If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, from the Fringe to Carnival in Rio, I highly recommend you find Maria.