Music: Jonah Kreitner & Sahand Rahbar
Choreographer & Director: Stefanie Nelson
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
The space at TheaterLab is a blank canvas: blindingly pristine white, nearly shocking under unfiltered light. Stefanie Nelson’s A My Name Is… utilizes this pregnant emptiness of space brilliantly, at times embracing the starkness, at others filling and imbuing it. The stasis of the clean, crisp vessel of a performance space encapsulates the metaphor of the vastness of the human mind, its capacity for learning, and the havoc within when it begins to forget.
The contemporary choreography is evocative and narratively non-linear, though quality of movement and floor patterning (linear, curving, etc.) evoke not only the cognitive journey of being, learning, and forgetting, but also the emotional turmoil of living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The incandescent ensemble of Christine Bonasea, Julia Discenza, Cameron McKinney, and Emily Tellier are people, are memories, are living neurons. Apples that symbolize everything and nothing litter the stage at various moments and are arranged, hoarded, thrown, and devoured. Joy and terror and frustration are viscerally present in Nelson’s choreography, and amplified by the stunning and fearless lighting design from Solomon Weisbard.
A My Name Is… is joyous and heartbreaking. It is expansive and breathtaking. It is intimate and risky. The quality of the choreography and the dance itself is exquisite, while the exploration of memory loss is powerful and poignant. This stunning piece of dance theatre should not be missed.
Runs until 10 December 2017 | Image: Maria Baranova