nytheatre.com review by Stacey Reed
Dharma Road Productions’ presentation of
re at The Play Room is simply delightful. A compilation of six
dance pieces, the show is bold in its mixture of live performance and
video, often entwining the two. Each piece in the production is
choreographed and performed by a different member of the troupe. The
different styles play off one another nicely, as each piece evokes a
different emotion, presenting a beautiful collage of styles to the
August 15, 2003
re begins quietly and movingly with a solo work by Aiichiro Miyagawa, on a bare stage with a simple costume. In fact, the stage is bare for most of the show, leaving the performers room to explore their very grounded and athletic style of dance.
During Akiko Furukawa’s piece, performed to the music of John Lennon, I became teary-eyed. In the next segment, a video project conceived and performed by Sakura Shimada, I laughed out loud at the level of absurdity it displayed. Shimada’s ability to turn recyclables into art is truly praiseworthy.
I was very impressed with the level of commitment Aya Shibahara and Noriko Yasunaga have to the forms they’ve created and to their characters. Despite a few opening night technical difficulties, they remained in character and displayed a huge amount of professionalism throughout. They seem sincerely to enjoy themselves on stage. I favor them for their talent, and also for providing the audience with lollipops mid-way through the show.
Another highlight of the program was an "audience participation" section. The performers’ inclusion of the audience, mixed with their improvisation on stage, was wonderful to observe and to participate in.
The only drawback to this performance is the lighting. I wanted to see more detail in the dancers’ movement. At times, dancers were lit very dimly or not at all, and their facial expressions were lost to the shadows. It was also difficult to see some of the video projections from the right side of the theater. Nevertheless, I left re with a smile on my face and a half-eaten lollipop in my hand. I would encourage theatergoers of any age to see this show, whether or not they are avid dance fans.