Sunday, October 5, 2008

A thumping raging explosion of marvelous light and texture, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, October 2 – 11

This short spectacle at the Salvage Vortex is a lot of fun.

Masonic, a foursome of indie rockers from Austin, cut loose and six young women dancers gambol through a happy, energetic evocation of childhood fun.

When the lights come up, each is perched on a round cross-cut plaque of wood. To the driving sounds of the band, they mime dizzy capers, initially as if they were at the top of a pinnacle and then as if they were on a firm spot in a liquid world.

As the band segues from one piece to another, the six young women caper onstage in a fluid but meticulously choreographed series of scenes that call forth the wonders and delights of young girls.

There is a refreshing innocence here and a sense of play throughout.
They wear simple shifts and they resemble one another in age, in demeanor and in flexibility. Over our hour with them we can pick up clues to personalities and capture faces, but they remain very much alike.

One girl teases another; another intervenes; someone shoves, someone twists, someone hides, turning the minimalist space of the Salvage Vanguard into a playground. Girls try to carry the wooden plaques across the stage and other girls mischievously block them.

The dancers show us impressive energy, much like young children who burn away at high speed until they drop.

There are amusing interludes – for example, all six sprawl on their backs at the front of the stage, pumping away with their legs as if on recumbent bicycles. They accelerate, slow, veer from one side to another, puff as they climb imaginary hills and shriek as they descend imaginary slopes.

Again and again they do lifts or tumbles or somersaults.

Theirs is an autumn playground, and the girls discover handfuls, then armfuls of dry leaves. They frolic in showers of them, making patterns, pelting one another and clambering up a ladder to bring down leaves hanging above the dance space.

At the finale, the red-headed girl with a sly smile brings out a large fan. When she sets it going, all of the children take turns savoring its blast and glorying in the novelty of it.

Amanda Butterfield created a thumping (. . . etc.) and appears in it along with Brazie Adamez, Lisa del Rosario, Hannah Kenah, Erin Molson, and Holly Wissman.

I enjoyed the music by Masonic, a tight group with a lithe red-headed woman singer who except for the fact she was in jeans could have been one of the dancers.

It was loud, though – the Yellow Tape house staff offered foam earplugs to any of us who looked like candidates for them. And I wish I could have followed the lyrics, in addition to rocking with the rhythms.

Wylie Maercklein has done a colorful series of photographs of the dress rehearsal, which the Yellow Tape Construction Company has posted on their Flickr site [Click here for the photos]. Some of his images are reproduced here. Others were taken from the front row during the Saturday night performance.

Elizabeth Cobbe's review in the Austin Chronicle, October 9

Mention by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin in her arts blog at the Statesman, October 10

Yellow Tape Theatre Company (YTTC) Website

Yellow Tape blog on

YTCC on MySpace

Website for Masonic

Masonic on MySpace

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