Adrienne Truscott at Danspace Project
Friday night took us to Danspace Project to see Adrienne Truscott’s new work HA: A Solo. We’ve long been a fan of Ms. Truscott’s blend of humor and performance and HA: A Solo did not disappoint. Working with her same band of collaborators – Neal Medlyn, Natalie Agee and Carmine Covelli – Truscott presented another one of her whimsical concoctions, blending quirky nonsensical snippets of dialogue with pedestrian movement sequences.
This time, however, she was very overt with her tricks. At the very outset Natalie Agee comes out, in drag as Adrienne, to explain that they are going to place a bunch of things in juxtaposition to each other and that it is up to us, the audience, to make meaning of it. She says, simple, that there is no idea – but that is obviously untrue. The idea would seem to be – judging from the fact that for the better part of the first half Carmine, Neal and Natalie all sport wigs, jean jackets and engineer boots that make them look like Adrienne clones – that this is a kind of refracted solo show with other people.
The night I saw it they burned the toast. Literally. There was a sequence where they put bread in a toaster and I guess it malfunctioned because the entire second half of the piece was performed with a light haze of toast smoke and the smell of burning.
One of my favorite things about Truscott’s work is her use of space. In this case she had video projected on the ceiling and on the back wall, multiple sequences in the Danspace balcony (including the toast) and multiple comic entrances from all the various doors to the playing space. Neal Medlyn was his kooky self running around and shouting like an untamed id, Carmine was unflappably understated and Natalie was gamine and spacey.
From a dance perspective the two girls – Natalie and Adrienne -are the actual dancers of the group and they bring a precision and grace to the pedestrian choreography that reveals the thought that went into it. Neal and Carmine add a kind of “everyman” quality to the proceedings.
In the end there’s a kind of indie-rock feel to Truscott’s work, a kind of DIY aesthetic that brings together found objects and ideas and snippets of music and sound with a definitively ironic sensibility. Its not pretentious but its not overly ambitious either. It is fun and offbeat and engaging and every once in a while hints at something larger than itself.
One way or another its fun to watch this ensemble play together – they’ve got great rapport and each one contributes their distinct talents and personalities to create something unique.