New York, New York
February 26-March 1, 1998
Reviewed by Gus Solomons jr
Since the sixties, the solo performances of marvelous maverick Margaret Beals have straddled the border between dance and theater. In Pathways, an unsentimental reflection on “life’s impossibility and occasional beauty,” she recalls in word and movement images the deaths of one cousin to suicide, another to cancer, two friends–a critic and a dancer–to AIDS, and her father, also to cancer.
Of the five-part piece, directed by Lee Nagrin, “Pa” is perhaps the most moving section. Beals’s clear, lusty voice recounts with simple, thoughtfully crafted language the fierce tenacity of her father’s fight against the inevitable. Then in a narrow beam of light (design by Carol Mullins), she parries defiantly with her shadow cast on the rear wall. Finally, she succumbs, lying motionless for a long moment as Toru Takemitsu’s plaintive flute music concludes.
Beals’s strong, elegant, dancerly physique and eloquent voice celebrate the courage of her loved ones, and affirm the enduring strength their lives give hers.