Performance Review: NOW Program 2
Program Two at the New Original Works Festival at REDCAT revealed a challenge in the programming department. With two modern dances placed side by side, the audience was asked to watch the second piece without being overly affected by the first. Difficult job for any viewer. If the performance pieces are even minutely similar to one other, the initial act is always a hard one to follow.
Lionel Popkin opened the show with a duet he performed with Noellie Bordelet, accompanied by veteran accompanist/composer Robert Een. Your Hand/My Mouth centered on just that—Bordelet’s finger in Popkin’s mouth. A tough nut to swallow, let alone understand its role as a metaphor. Still, the gesture provided an unexpected serio-comic decoration on the dancers’ movements. Popkin, dressed is faded green street clothes, began center stage as close to the audience as possible. Anchoring his hands in his front pockets, be moved his torso serpentine-like in all directions, leading everywhere with his head and including sharp tilts, staccato and fluid circles and an occasional pursing of the lips to blow to/breathe at us in the audience. A short and small tour-de-force for this accomplished performer.