There’s a thin line between tintypes and archetypes. Taylor can make devastating comments by pleasing us with the most mundane personas — in past works, he’s taken on charismatic characters from popular culture like evangelical preachers, lindy-hoppers, and comic-book detectives. Then, having allowed the audience the pleasure of being able to identify with them, he’ll proceed to expose the nastiness, the absurdity, the doom that lies beneath their familiar facades. In De Sueños, he doesn’t quite take us past the recognition stage.
One of the Pillow programs included Taylor’s 2006 ditty Troilus and Cressida (reduced), which I hadn’t seen before. As soon as we heard the first desiccated bars of Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours,” the audience started giggling. Taylor’s dancers proceeded to scamper through 15 minutes of love, rape, deception, kidnap, ballet, Martha Graham, and the Trojan War. Lisa Viola brought about the speedy decline of Shakespeare with inspired timing and knock knees. Robert Kleinendorst fell for her as the son of the king of Troy. They were besieged and betrayed by clueless soldiers and cupids. Dance comedy doesn’t get any more exquisitely nutty than this.
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