PANDÆMONIUM (Nichole Canuso Dance Company / Early Morning Opera): 2016 Fringe review 42.1

pandaemonium-1

PANDÆMONIUM opens with its five characters — woman (Nichole Canuso), man (Geoff Sobelle), musician (Xander Duell), female mannequin, male mannequin — relaxing in the desert. On the drive-in theater screen set as the backdrop, the mountainside explodes, and the words “End” and “Zabriskie Point” pop up. Then, the dancing begins.

The show might be an interpretation of the 1970 film about the American counterculture, but the similarities end with the setting, and there are a few other juxtapositions that don’t seem to correspond to each other. The man and woman seem to be signing divorce papers, and then they get drunk and roll around the set together. They dance with the mannequins, then they dismember them and wear their body parts as accessories. There are elements of physical humor, then the musician plays a melancholy version of “Don’t Stop Believing” and the woman writhes with emotion. The most entrancing part of PANDÆMONIUM is its multimedia use. The woman and man spend much of the performance on opposite ends of the room, facing away from each other, yet through a live video feed appear on the drive-in screen to face each other and react to what the other is doing. It’s a testament to what Fringe can do: defy genre, defy theme, defy medium, and somehow still manage to be cohesive and emotionally haunting.
[FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd.] September 14-18, 2016; fringearts.com/pandaemonium

Read Julius Ferraro’s take on this production.

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About the author

Julie Zeglen

Julie Zeglen is a freelance journalist and the editor of Generocity.org, a Philly-based social impact news site. She previously served as managing editor of Star Community Newsweekly, a hyperlocal newspaper focused on the River Wards. The Temple alumna lives in West Philly.