Moving performances at SPACE

Warming up winter
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  December 31, 2012

BEAUTIFUL FORMATIONS The women of Murmurations.
Quite a few evolutions have taken shape over the last year at SPACE Gallery, including the opening of the Annex and the redesign of the main gallery, which just turned ten years old. And for the inaugural First Friday of 2013, January 4, SPACE will dedicate itself to imaginative use of both spaces in Thaw, a series of performances that focus on movement and voice. Works performed in the main gallery will include a set from the new "theatrical ladies choir" Murmurations, directed by Kelly Nesbitt and Elizabeth Armentino-Burd; the movement piece [compression], choreographed by Marieke Van Der Steenhoven; and What Sex? What Business? What Marriage?, a collaborative work created by Lorem Ipsum and directed by Tess Van Horn. Meanwhile, just next door, the SPACE Annex will host two works involving video by New York-based artist Alex Nathanson and composer Dylan Needly, and by choreographer Rachel Boggia.

Murmurations brings together 15 of Portland's most sublime female voices, outfits them in sheer fabrics and strings of lights, and lets them move with lovely, lyrical whimsy. Collaborative in its creative process and stylistically inspired by magical realism and ensemble work like that of Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, Murmurations' performers include Shana Barry, Ceci Gilson, Deb Grant, Megan Hevenor, Kristin Kellas, Marita Kennedy-Castro, Parks McKinney, Sara Hallie Richardson, Jerusha Robinson, Kellie Ryan, Christina Siravo, and Lilly Van Der Steenhoven, along with Nesbitt and Armentino-Burd. Using theatrical choreography, props, and a variety of things that glow in many colors, the ensemble has been developing an eclectic and varied repertoire, with interpretations of songs by Prince, Meredith Monk, and Zero-7. "Murmuration" is the term for a plurality of starlings and their mesmerizing shapes in flight (see for a spectacular example), and indeed, rehearsing an interpretation of Feist's "I Feel it All" recently, members of Murmurations spun themselves into many lovely forms, including gumdrop trees and descending spirals of birds.

In [compression], emotion is expressed wordlessly. Choreographer Marieke Van Der Steenhaven directs Mariah Bergeron, Meaghan LaSala, and Brian Simpson in an evocative composition of moods and feeling via movement. The piece grew out of her thinking about different varieties of pressure, says Van Der Steenhoven, including gravity, kinetics, and anxiety, and then evolved through improvisational exercises by the ensemble. Set to music by Cerberus Shoal and Mind Whale, [compression] progresses from frantic convulsions to slow, creeping steps to intricate aching duets; performers fall and roll, balance over and around each other, and slip in and out through portals of each other's limbs.

Though performers will speak some words in Lorem Ipsum's What Sex? What Business? What Marriage?, the focus is on movement and interaction in this collaboratively created work, which director Van Horn says is open to highly fluid viewer interpretation. Lorem Ipsum productions have often used the physical and philosophical techniques of the Viewpoints approach to develop imagery or ensemble for existing scripts; in What Sex?, for the first time, the ensemble has used Viewpoints to create an original, ex nihilo composition. Its six-person ensemble — which includes Corey Anderson, Michael Dix Thomas, Corey Gagne, Lisa Van Oosterum, and the Phoenix's own Deirdre Fulton and Nick Schroeder — worked in three groups of two, which will perform their compositions together simultaneously on stage.

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  Topics: Theater , Marita Kennedy-Castro, SPACE Gallery, SPACE Gallery,  More more >
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