Rimasto Orfano, Emio Greco/PC
Wexner Center for the Arts / April 5, 2005
Photo by Jean Pierre Stoop

Emio Greco/PC
Thurber Theatre at Drake Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
April 5, 2005
Reviewed by Steve Sucato


“Emio Greco is dead,” proclaimed a dancer at the beginning of Rimasto Orfano (Abandoned Orphan). Nothing could have been further from the truth. What seemed dead by the end of the performance, however, was the notion that there is nothing new in dance. Italian choreographer Greco and Dutch theater director Pieter C. Scholten have created a dance experience of such creative brilliance and overwhelming emotion that even the most jaded critic could not help but be moved.

Continuing a movement aesthetic begun in Conjunto di NERO, this fascinating, disturbing journey of a work evoked images of watching patients (orphaned or not) in a mental institution, at times even peering into their minds. A bare stage framed by crumpled white silk drops and a single suspended white light bulb provided the backdrop to a mesmerizing display of nervous ticks, insecure glances, and simple movements like the waving of a dancer’s arm in the air, amplified in intensity a hundred fold.

Equally intense was the original score by American composer Michael Gordon and a sound collage of random noises and sirens by Wim Selles. The company’s half-dozen dancers, costumed in loose-fitting, monklike gowns of the same fabric as the drops, moved in emotional concert to the soundscape. On a stage often split into halves of shadow and light, the dancers sidled up to one another, anxiety and a need for conformity provoking them to mimic each other’s every step and body position. Slow-paced, synchronous movement tinkering led to fits of fast-paced unison group dancing in a flowing modern dance style that pressed the performers to exhaustion.

Dubbed “Extremealism” by Francois Le Pillouer, director of the Théâtre National de Bretagne, Greco and Scholten’s choreographic style for Rimasto Orfano tested the boundaries of minimalism and dancer commitment to the movement mentally, physically, and theatrically. None proved more up to the test than Greco, whose fervent dancing, maniacal silent screams, and violent head shaking and bashing onto the stage floor pierced the soul. Whether a conceptual representation of abandonment of mind, body, or both, Rimasto Orfano is a masterpiece.

For more information: www.emiogrecopc.nl

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