Monday, December 18, 2017

Hotel Gone—Imago Theatre—SE Portland


This World Premiere, interpretive dance event is directed, designed and choreographed by Jerry Mouawad and produced by Carol Triffle (Artistic Directors for Imago).  It is playing at their space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (just off Burnside, street parking), through December 23rd (in repertory with Frogz).  For more information and tickets go to or call 503-231-9581.

Yes, my title does suggest the origin of something new (which this is) but it also suggests the beginnings of our existence, as it’s explained in the Bible.  And why would I connect this work with the Genesis of the Bible?  Because, as in most of Mouawad’s (and Triffle’s) artistic, movement pieces, it is open to interpretation, as in any Great Work of Art.  And, for some reason, my mind kept flashing on the Creation of Humans, as they begin with no real identity or personal effects but, as they evolve, they don and exchange clothing as an expression of who they are (or think they are), or is it to disguise who they are?  (There is even a murder that resembles the conflict between Cain and Abel).

And, as in some of their work, there is no specific story as such.  And so my review, thus, has to follow their format.  Your ways of expressing yourself, after viewing it, may be entirely different but that is the Nature of Art.  And so, here is my take on it in a similar language:  Moving to the primal beat of the tom-toms…a tribal experience…primitive in nature, but with a purpose, perhaps unknown, even to them…buried in their own world, they collide with other contradictory, merging but ever growing entities, as they dance to a different drummer…they struggle to keep in step, but the cadence is ever-changing, ever-evolving, ever-lasting…“those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end, as time goes by…”in the conclusion, then, we are left with a bitter-sweet finale and the loss of innocence…“and the beat goes on….”  A tear forms.  Curtain!

His company of dancers/movement personnel is BreAnna Rae Hansen, Nathan H.G., Kayla Banks, Leif Schmit and Mathilda Seger.  The musicians/beat masters are Amy Katrina Bryan and Sumi Wu.  And they are all quite mesmerizing, as one feels they are weaving a hypnotic, pulsating blanket around you in which existence ticks by and you are forced/invited to see Life whiz past before your eyes.  These few, these chosen few, have taken you on a journey and, in the outcome, with a whimper, leaving “not a wit behind.”  They are all captivating!

And Mouawad has, once again, (re)introduced us to a part of our psyche that is not often exercised (perhaps, exorcised, as well) and has left us with a nugget, a kernel, a seed, which will expand in our imagination and offer us…alternatives to our current way of existing.  The lighting (assumedly designed by Mouawad, as well) and ran by the stage manager, Michael Cavazos (I assume), is also an intricate part of the show and very precise and effective in creating mood and time passages in the production.  All in all, an evening well spent.

I recommend this show.  If your do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.


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