“Alaska” at On the Boards

Man oh man! Last night I was fortunate enough to see the last performance of Diane Sniezblum’s piece “Alaska” at On the Boards. At it’s most fervent moments, the piece cast a hypnotic spell over the audience.

In one particularly effective moment, a woman’s naked body was re-arranged by the dancers in different locations on the stage as if she were a puppet. Their movements were purposeful and efficient as they dragged her around, bending her over, lying her down, and eventually tying her body into an elaborate knot.

While the impulse for movement may have been lust, their executions rarely felt sensuous or sexy. As a man sat with his legs in a V shape and his arms tied behind him, a woman attempted to push her head through the nook between his arms and his body. She pushed and pushed until he had to restrain her as she reached manically into the air. In another scene, a woman leaped on to the shoulders of a man, crawling down his chest, and through the space in his legs, pulling his pants down along with her. She leaped three times over him, until she had been disrobed and lay naked beside him.

Most movements were repeated ad nauseum. The movements seemed uncontrollable, as if they were a manifestation of addiction. The dancers moved because they had to move…because something, memory or perhaps emotion, was controlling them.

I’m not sure if everyone in the audience enjoyed the piece as much as I did. It was not an escapist fantasy. It was also not particularly cohesive. But it was confrontational in all the ways you’d hope a performance would be.


1 Comment so far

  1. On the Boards » Blog Archive » More ALASKA reviews (pingback) on November 11th, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

    […] Seattle MetBlogs “This is pretty heady stuff, and Szeinblum’s conceptual Alaska is rather more dark, […]

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