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Almodóvar Dystopia – Dixon Place, New York

Choreographer: Antonio Ramos

Reviewer: Jamie Rosler

If your friends generally describe you as humorless or sexually repressed, this show probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, maybe you’re the ones who need it the most. Almodóvar Dystopia, from Antonio Ramos and the Gang bangers, is an absurd mixed-media dance piece filled with joy, chocolate, nudity, wigs, and references to Pedro Almodóvar films (that you need not recognize to fully enjoy the production).

Traveling through stunning live dance, recorded footage, and in-the-moment green screen effects rather smoothly, there is always something engaging on stage to draw your attention. Once or twice it’s possible that there are too many things happening on stage, but then again there is a lot of ground to cover as well as the added guarantee that, as an audience member, you’re not likely to see the same show twice. Costume and dance choices recall flamenco style and steps while simultaneously turning tradition on its head. Serious current issues are explored with juvenile humor, though only juvenile because of the discomfort we’re conditioned to have when it comes to our bodies and sexuality.

Lines between performers and their audience are blurred often, with an active effort to break the fourth wall and engage spectators as thoroughly and directly as the production and space allow. Lines between gender are blurred, fittingly proving that strict distinctions are not just unnecessary, but absurd in their own right. Language is also skewered in this production, with English closed captions appearing on an upstage projection screen, but only several seconds after the moment has passed in its original Spanish. Do you focus on reading the words in an effort to understand the moment you missed, or do you focus on what’s happening in the present and simply extract as much from it as you are able? There is a dreamlike quality, in varying degrees, from beginning to end. This facade of unreality and false appearance of superficiality contribute to the depths which this production remains with you after you’ve left Dixon Place.

Runs until 30 September 2017 | Image: Peter Yesley

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The American team is under the editorship of Adrienne Sowers. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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