—FringeArts Founder & Producing Director Nick Stuccio, The Philadelphia Inquirer
—Anthropologist and critic Carolyn Merritt, thinkingdance.net
Time expands, narrative shimmers forth and slips away; formalism meets humanity in <fidget>’s staging of Robert Ashley’s experimental opera Dust. Working with the original recording and a cast of five dancers, director/choreographer Megan Bridge cultivates a shifting performance landscape that builds, swells, loops back and comments on itself. The work’s complex musicality and surreal narrative carry a strangely ebullient and humorous tone despite subject matter that includes war and a drug-induced conversation with God.
Robert Ashley was known for the distinctly American voice, language patterns, and structures of his operas. Bridge weaves movement that sometimes skates on top, sometimes intersects, and sometimes rides the wave of Ashley’s score. Movement and voice vacillate between a delivery that is muttered then precise, pedestrian then virtuosic. An homage to minimalism is evident in the work (Bridge’s choreographic mentor for the project was Lucinda Childs), yet is tempered by an improvisatory, somatic approach to movement generation that is inspired by working with Deborah Hay. Video design by Peter Price responds in real time to the dancers’ movement, creating a colorfield effect that breathes with the dance.
Director/Choreographer: Megan Bridge
Performers: Megan Bridge, Christina Gesualdi, Beau Hancock, Gregory Holt, Michele Tantoco
Dramaturgical Team: Erin Manning, Peter Price, Laura Vriend
Choreographic Mentor: Lucinda Childs
Video Designer: Peter Price
Costume Designer: Heidi Barr
Lighting Designer: Matt Sharp
Music and Libretto by Robert Ashley
Performed by Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Tom Hamilton, Jacqueline Humbert, Joan La Barbara, “Blue” Gene Tyranny and Robert Ashley. Recorded live at the Kitchen in 1999 by Tom Hamilton, edited and mixed by Tom Hamilton and Robert Ashley. Used with permission from Lovely Music, Ltd.
Proscenium or black box theater with 10,000 lumens video projector. Five dancers, one video designer, one lighting technician. 90 minutes
Art Stations Foundation Poznań [Poland]
Center for Performance Research
Philadelphia Cultural Fund
Photo: William Herbert
Photos: Hope Davis
Photos: Johanna Austin
Photo: Kevin Monko (monkophoto.com)