Sunday, February 6, 2011


by Joe Straw 

Fearful Symmetries (2010) by Jacques Heim.

They come.  Like children.  Playing with a cube that has suddenly appeared in their conscience being.  Curiosity gets the best of them and they cautiously climb, examining it, children on the monkey bars to quote a memory from a scene long ago, so long ago. 

But it is not enough.  They must take it apart, and move the pieces.  And they do.  This as childlike partners in crime, to do a child-like crime.  Children, a consortium of criminal free thinkers, tear apart a form in a quest for a meaningful life lesson.

But, it is not enough as they grow.  The pieces move, and the children stretch their limbs, each, mind you, moving to a beat of their own making.  All are little knowledge seekers moving to create a significant place in this world.    

And as they grow they discover their bodies. They are immune to pain as their bodies fly uncontrollably through the air.  Flying so that others may catch the once childlike flesh.  And in a moment their bodies become a form of curiosity.  And they laugh with the uncomfortable knowledge they have touched that which was untouchable, yesterday.  Still it is a catch of comfort and protection as they fall into each other’s arms.    

But they get older, they hold the flesh that attracts them and after finding a mate they love and grow, some loving and growing more than others.  And some are more passionate than others as their lips and bodies are engaged in a dramatic physical amalgamation.

And as life progresses, work becomes a detriment to their creativity and they slide into the rut of family life.  The same dinner night after night. The same moving and pulling the same instruments at their jobs.  Something they do this while holding the family together.

But, no matter how hard they try to get ahead, how far they push the rock up the hill, their life is Sisyphus and a gain is sometimes two slides back.  For some it is a slide completely down the hill.

And then suddenly the players become prisoners of their own makings.  The women stand above them and chain the men to that which securely binds them. 

And death is not far behind.

Trajectoire (Section 1: 1999, Section 2: 2001)

The pamphlet describing death:  think of a passing life as a ship leaving until it disappears beyond the horizon.

Time life is fleeting.  Broken down, it is a singular timeline with highlights.  Click and illuminate to read the historical significant points in one’s life. 

All timelines have a beginning.  Why not start one on a singular remarkable journey on a ship and hope for a remarkable passage.

One looks at the opening set piece and sees half a clock with second hands, the few small hands and a large hand and of course lovely ladies who prim before their biological clock expires.

And off they go on a ship to distance places all in the hopes of finding something or someone for the experience they have been lacking in their lives.  New people, new places, and new friends all the making of an exciting journey.  Throw in lovers and you’ve got a party for those seeking similar excitement.  

It starts out as something smooth, a mild journey, that lets them happily glide along the deck peacefully until it ends in it’s something they never could imagine. Little did they know they were on the Titanic, or the vein of something similar that presses the panic buttons in their lives.  

Still, they go for the thrill, survive the best they can, and hope things turn out in their favor.  But rough seas throw them about and off the ship and yet they manage to climb back on holding on for a life so dear, their own.

There is this curious sense of elation and freedom in artistic interpretation culminating in a self-perceived dramatic change in one’s life.

The above, for both pieces, are probably the musings of a madman or of a self interpretation of the two acts in Diavolo, directed by Jacuqes Heim at the The Broad Stage in Santa Monica as witnessed by this writer. Diavolo is a stunning achievement of dance and acrobatics on top of moving set pieces. 

Precision on stage is a key element, trust is imperative as bodies fly through the air with the thought there will be someone at the end of the jump to catch you.  There can be no more or less.

Mike McCluskey & Tina Trefethen McCluskey Ltd were the set engineers and construction personnel that were responsible for the ship and the boxes that were moved and fitted into various pieces to give meaning to actions on stage.

The company was comprised of extremely hard working dancers doing backbreaking work for one hour, thirty minutes for each presentation.   The dancers are Ashley Hannan, Trevor Harrison, Jennifer Huffman, Clinton Kyles, Shauna Martinez, Omar Olivas, Anibal Sandoval, Chisa Yamaguchi, Lindsey Young and Seth Zibalese.

Discover Diavolo, let your mind go, and enjoy the ride.

The Broad Stage is in Santa Monica and the parking is free!  And that is refreshing! 

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