Three collaborative works of varying impact received first performances Saturday at the Japan America Theatre.
Choreographed by Emilie Conrad-Da'oud and lit imaginatively by Marianne Schneller, "Rachel raining" explored weight, contour and pattern by juxtaposing pliant, amorphous shapes taken by Rachael Dutton with five striking sculptures she had created.
Spot-lit in gorgeous kaleidoscopic colors, Dutton slowly twisted and untwisted into hanging swaths of fabric to a sound-score of bird twitterings and gentle bell tones. Whole or fragmented images were multiplied further through projections of Dutton's face onto the fabric. At approximately 17 minutes long, the work neither exhausted nor overstayed its potentially precious premise.
Marion Scott brought an anguished intensity to "Los Angeles Street, City of Angels," conceived and performed with Rene Olivas Gubernick, but that did not solve the formal problems of a work too long in light of the imbalance between each contributor's efforts.
Gubernick, as a mysterious down-and-outer, had to work very hard and long in his ritualistic, magical labors to bring Scott, as an exhausted, suffering bag lady, back to life. It took him lots of dancing, cavorting, smearing on body paint and rattling of plastic water bottles to revive her, and when he had succeeded, she exhibited an unsettling self-involved intensity that verged on autism. The collaborators may have wanted to avoid the simplicity of a Hollywood romance resolution, but the ratio of movement and energy of her part to his seemed a serious miscalculation.
No work that opens with a 33-piece Boy Scout brass band and ends with a Spanish dancer and flamenco guitarist performing in front of four chanting Buddhist priests is short on audacity, imagination or humor. And certainly not lacking in these elements were Hirokazu Kosaka's "Prudence and Folly" and "Soleares," performed one after the other--or simultaneously: it wasn't clear which, and it probably didn't matter.
Kosaka may have intended this kind of double vision to be a serious fusing of Eastern and Western cultures and philosophies. He drew on some potent traditional imagery. But the lively sequencing and unpredictable juxtapositions suggested rather a more Ivesian encompassing acceptance of differences that could not be reduced to sameness.