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Garung parades its pageantry

September 25, 2003|Victoria Looseleaf | Special to The Times

Fashion Week may be over, but fashion, as flaunted by Garung -- six women who act, dance, sing, chatter and chortle -- comes to sexy life in the West Coast premiere of this eponymous, movement-based theater piece at the Ivar Theatre.

Conceived by British-born choreographer Madeleine Dahm, Garung (German for "disquiet") is a local troupe of actors (plus dance-trained Dahm) whose sophisticated opus conjures images of Pina Bausch, Jean Cocteau and apple-chomping Eves. Offering "random acts of lunacy" (so saith performer Suzan Averitt), smashed fairy tales and a surreal collage of Ellis Island-like foreign languages, Dahm shakes up stuff, revealing painterly tableaux of beauty and wonder: Her parade of estrogen-driven pageantry and parodies tackles love, egomania and the feminine mystique.

Bookended by music from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," the work veers from madcap (a chorus of barking toy dogs) to the surprising, with Denise Pazienti crushing a bouquet to the schmaltzy strains of "Autumn Leaves." Broom-wielding Cinderellas spouting witchy text from "Macbeth" sweep up.

Unison moves compel, with line dances and neo-"Swan Lake" bourrees abounding. When a topless Terril Miller suns herself on bubble-wrap before stomping it, a la Larry David, we know we're in the Oz of Dahm's mind. More magic: Carol Katz being booed; Krystyna Hughes lip-synching to Pink Martini's "Que Sera"; and a shoe-hurling prelude that gives way to pitter-pattering bare feet. Six chairs and twigs become ikebana sculpture, while Eileen Cooley's lighting enhances the production. Woozy with imagery, this is theater on the edge.



Where: Ivar Theatre, 1605 N. Ivar Ave., Hollywood

When: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.

Ends: Oct. 4

Price: $20

Info: (323) 461-7300

Running time: 70 minutes, no intermission

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