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Serially entertaining

Actors and screen-writers are busier these days than they have been in some time. There are “streaming” shows, 100s of cable outlets producing both series and movies, and of course Hollywood and the Indie scene all requiring their talents and services.

We are the beneficiaries of all this production. We will be enlightened, entertained and excited by the films they produce.

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than binge watching Divorce?

Gifted, the movie with Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace, and not so incidentally Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, and Elizabeth Marvel, is touching without being maudlin. It is generally intelligent, with a sterling performance by young Ms. Grace, and until we saw it last night on HBO, I had not heard much about it.

The assignment for Black History Month can include the excellent Get Out, Jordan Peele’s genius defies and reinvents the “horror” genre. It should also feature a viewing of Birth of a Nation, perhaps both in its regressive D.W. Griffith 1915 version and Nate Parker’s 2016 “remake.” The contrast between a paen to the Ku Klux Klan and to Nat Turner’s slave rebellion may prove edifying. Add Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (although not our personal favorite) to your list of films for 2018. (In the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham expresses a different view, especially of Parker’s film.)

Art is meant to engender controversy, stimulate and even incense and enrage. We should not be passively diverted in its presence. It is here to help us ponder life’s (and history’s) biggest issues.

Thanks to films and serial dramas we have a lot to consider and enjoy. And we are treated to some terrific performances in the bargain.

Posted in #critique, athletic, ballet, balletic, classic, connectivity, dance, dance making, dancing, empowerment, high expectations, history, in repertory, joy, legacy

Howdy, Partner

Partnering has developed a new look as the 21st century progresses. Partly, this is a reflection of a more liberal social milieu. Gender fluidity is the term of art for this LGBTQ-era. Same sex marriage, mixed use bathrooms, dorms which house both boys and girls on the same floor are part of our new-age maturity.

Equality has certainly not come full-circle. The workplace and the quotidian are still often off-kilter and exhibit the same kinds of inequities that have been with us forever. We are working on it, much as the dance makers are working on many more diverse ways to partner.

Many choreographers– Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon Benjamin Millipied etc.– experiment with male on male lifts, and Jessica Lang has a woman catch and release her male partner at one point in Her Notes.

Roles can be reversed for Mr. Mom and his executive wife. We’ve come to accept that and to expect to see it in our arts and entertainments. The glass ceiling– and other prejudices and biases– will be broken and taken down in tiny steps rather than with crowbars.

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Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in drama, empowerment, feminism, girls, growing up, self-actualization, song and dance, The Vagina Monologues, young cast

Empowering The Young: "Emotional Creature"

We’re a long way from “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” 

Eve Ensler’s “Emotional Creature,” in an outside production imported from California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre to The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, through January 13th, details the atrocities that so often rob girls of their childhood.
Molly Carden  in “Emotional Creature” by Eve Ensler. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
All over the globe, they are deprived of their girlhood by being abducted, beaten into prostitution, forced into factory labor, raped, denied an education. But it’s not just crimes, like genital mutilation, that keep girls from enjoying their youth. There is also peer pressure to be skinny, to be straight, to be popular, to be pretty that add hardship to the confusion that is part of growing up.  
Ashley Bryant in “Emotional Creature” by Eve Ensler. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
This panoply of obstacles to self-actualization is rendered in monologue, and in song and dance, in “Emotional Creature” by an enthusiastic cast of young women.
Joaquina Kalukango in “Emotional Creature” by Eve Ensler. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

In her title, Ensler has co-opted the notion that conflates being female with having an excess of feeling, the diagnosis of which was once simply called hysteria. Unfortunately, even though Ensler’s earnest feminism is never in doubt, the passion in “Emotional Creature” feels like politically correct lip-service. The world-wide success of her earlier play,“The Vagina Monologues,” led to the creation of V-Girls, as a platform to empower the young  as Ensler’s foundation, V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women had empowered a generation of adult women.
Olivia Oguma in “Emotional Creature” by Eve Ensler. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Subtitled “the secret life of girls around the world,” “Emotional Creature” is just too ambitious in its scope. There is too much going on– some of it funny, some of it heartwrenching, some of it inconsequential — unless perhaps you are that teenage girl trying to fit in.  What we don’t get is to feel fully engaged with “Emotional Creature.” 

These girls stories are for the most part too dire to trivialize, but “Emotional Creature,” in aiming alll over the world glosses over and simplifies a world of troubles. In fact, some of the lighter and funnier moments are the best part of “Emotional Creature.”  Those include the cast in a chat room worrying over what not to eat. Ashley Bryant taking and critiquing pictures for her Facebook page and Sade Namei missing her pre-nose job face make for amusing insights into the secret lives of girls.

The cast also includes  Emily Grosland, Joaquina Kalukango, Molly Carden, and  Olivia Oguma. Running time is just under 90 minutes.
For more information please visit http://emotionalcreature.com