The Critical Dialogues experiment continues, this month with Pearl Marill:
“WHAT IF, rather than writing a review, a critic sat down with a choreographer to have a two-way conversation about the work? That’s the experiment behind Critical Dialogues. For this second installment, actress and choreographer Pearl Marill, director of Modern on Command, met for coffee with critic Rachel Howard to talk about the August 11, 2014 performance of Marill’s Some Bodies Confessional, which premiered at ODC Theater’s Music Moves Festival.
[At the beginning of Some Bodies Confessional, audience members were directed, via voiceover, to write confessions on slips of paper. Anyone who turned in three confessions was rewarded with a glass of wine. Then another pop song played and the audience had three more minutes to write confessions, and the dancers went through the crowd collecting them.]
Rachel Howard: This was one of my favorite shows that I’ve seen in a long time. You framed it so smartly. Giving us so much time to turn in the confessions and staging that as a game in itself gave us a lot of buy-in. Because by the time that was over we had all turned in several confessions and that gave us enormous suspense, wondering when our confession would come up, and how other people would react. Whether our confession would fly or fall, or actually be touching to people.
And some of the ways you were playing with posturing and authenticity and some of the ideas at the core of the jokes reminded me of Miguel Gutierrez.
Pearl Marill: Oh. I haven’t seen his work in a long time. I went to the American Dance Festival and he was teaching there, maybe more than 10 years ago.
RH: I also haven’t seen his work in quite a while. The last time his company visited—maybe six years ago?—he did that crazy piece in which he used a song by Kate Bush—
PM: And he lip syncs—
RH: Yes, he lip syncs—
PM: With the candle—
RH: He has a candle under his ass!
PM: So, I was just in a piece by Erin Mei-Ling, Stolen Moments, Borrowed Memories, that made reference to that work, and I had to talk about it for Erin’s piece—but I had never seen it. I had to talk about Miguel Gutierrez lip syncing Kate Bush with a candle under his ass.
RH: I guess a lot of people never forget that! Well, some of the moments in your show—like the woman in the dinosaur costume, and she’s holding a plank while singing to the stuffed dinosaur—and you’re over on the side in a backbend.”
The full dialogue is here.