human future dance corps

April 1, 2004

human future dance corps
P.S. 122

New York, New York

April 1–11, 2004

Reviewed by Eva Yaa Asantewaa


In Coming Out of the Night With Names, there’s no road map and no way to wrest the steering wheel from the speeding weirdo in control. Passenger, grip your seat!

Theater and dance split the 95 intermission-less minutes of the latest production to emerge from human future dance corps, a provocative, multidisciplinary troupe driven by postmodern choreographer/director DD Dorvillier and writer/director Peter Jacobs. Physical posture, movement, and energies play strong supporting roles in Jacobs’ text- and prop-centered Part 1, then break free for the rest of the evening. Dorvillier, Jacobs, Oren Bar-noy, and Heather Kravas, all talented, stalwart, and fascinating performers, deserve medals for stamina and memory over this long (and wild) haul.

The quartet opens Part 1 as they gather around one of the work’s ubiquitous tables, trading parts of a disjointed story that sounds like a gossip column—celebrity names rendered in bold print—on a collision course with surrealism. Their vocal delivery intensifies. Nonstop action unfolds with a cavalcade of histrionic, nonsensical speech and moves, madcap props and costumes, raw nudity, frequent allusions to body odors and wastes. Eccentric lighting (by Thomas Dunn) ingeniously reconfigured the space. For the viewer, everything moves too fast.

In Dorvillier’s Part 2, Molly Davies’ hazy video of a low-flying crane suggests spaciousness, and the performance area has been cleared of extraneous props. As the scene opens, two dancers push against a column or door frame, perhaps trying to make more room. Then the dancers cluster and slowly tilt like wild stalks in a wetlands, as Dorvillier slips among them, turning, feet twisting this way or that. This early section feels orderly; the tight quadrangle of dancers shifts forward and back, sliding along one narrow corridor of space. A controlled lunacy ensues—for instance, a couple of dancers stand back from either side of a table and both extend a leg, repeatedly slapping their toes on the wood as if they’re horses counting with their hooves. At times, obsessive repetitions seem intended to induce a trance and then—with the awkward splat of bodies helplessly rolling off a table onto the floor or the explosion of punches, kicks, expansive scoops, and whirls—Dorvillier makes us snap out of it.