Sketches by Chuck Schultz. Review and photography by Yumna Tolaimate. See more photographs at yum-na.com.
It’s a warm (sunny!) night at The Patio at Spring Garden. Reminiscent of 1960s Palm Springs, white summer dresses and high-waist bikini bottoms are trending. Cocktails and water tubs are the go-to for cooling off, and inflatable beach balls are bouncing from hand to hand.
Fluorescent flying fabric, silicone-infused figures, water bottle ‘sprinklers’… it’s an alarmingly plastic-ruled era, one that looks absurd yet so familiar. “Presented by the Ministry of Aesthetic Embellishments founded in 2060,” the themes attempt a reconstruction of a long-gone past – one we are living in.
PLUNGE is yet another fruit of Brian Sanders’ creative genius. In the intimate pop-up garden, the performance contrasts complex narratives with trivial objects. The diversity of the acts spins our attention around nature’s Elements: from grounded dancing to aerial acrobatics, and from blazing lights to cool water plunges. Meanwhile, each element of the performance playfully denounces the blatant materialism and “plastic-y” quality of our own lives.
It’s a classic “tragedy becomes comedy” play. We’re entertained by our own reality when we’re at a far enough distance from it. So, although our feet were on the ground at the Patio, Brian Sanders transformed it into à fantasy – a reverie – surreal enough to amuse and humor the audience. The performers – namely Laura Jenkins, Alyssa Kennedy and Rimaj Todd – successfully maintain the wonder and playfulness throughout the fast-paced 50 min show. Their agile and flawless movement defies the possible constraints of a small space and create an upbeat, free-flowing and captivating atmosphere.
Sanders’ choreography fills the space entirely. Every surface is a stage: the narrow lone-standing roof above the patio, the unforeseen human aquarium splashing water on the stairs, the go-go box turning heads at every intermission, the baby bath tubs, the dangerously close-to-your-face swing… etc. It’s rush hour when the audience moves around to adjust to each stage, perhaps an intentional set-up hinting at our overcrowded, overflowing lives.
[Patio at Spring Garden] September 7-22, 2018; fringearts.com/event/plunge