Anthony J. Piccione
New York Theatre Critic
This past week, when I walked into the theater at the 14th Street Y, I probably shouldn’t have been too surprised to see a giant clock counting down from roughly one hour until it reached 00:00:00. After all, the fact that the show I was reviewing was called “…it’s time…” should have made it obvious to me that the theme of time – and the effect it has on others – would play a role in this show. Unfortunately, however, any other inspiration for this show beyond this very abstract theme was lost on this reviewer.
That’s not to say that it’s a bad show, per se. To the contrary, the artists involved are technically very good, to a large extent. The choreography itself is quite well-done by choreographer/director Jenn Freeman, and is executed beautifully by the impressive ensemble consisting of Maddison Burg, Mia DeWeese, Matt Luck, Christopher Ralph, and Chelsea Thedinga. The percussion-driven soundtrack – composed by Dani Markham (known for her past work with Childish Gambino), and performed superbly by the excellent drummer Price McGuffey – also adds to the intensity of this dance piece.
The problem, though, is that the show seems lacking in any meaningful substance, other than as a well choreographed, albeit vague, dance performance. Beyond some aspects of the show such as the clock counting down to a descending rope at center stage, as well as a brief moment where the dancers sing Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time”, there isn’t much that displays or explores the theme and concept of time in this show, at least not in a way that shows the average theatergoer what the message or rationale for this show may be. Indeed, if the show were called anything else, it’s arguable that even its overall theme would be lost on the audience.
This is a recurring problem that I often see with many contemporary dance shows. The choreography and dancing itself is certainly brilliant, but I failed to understand what the purpose of this show was beyond showing that off. I’ve always been someone who believed that all great art should make one laugh, cry, or think, and that if it doesn’t do at least one of those, it’s mediocre at best. I will acknowledge that while it failed to meet this standard for me, the reaction from the rest of the audience – which stood in applause at the end – was decidedly different.
Perhaps some of our readers, who are more inclined to enjoy abstract dance showcases than I am, will agree with them more than me. I’ll leave that to those reading this review to decide for themselves.
“…it’s time…” – presented by Freemove Dance – runs at the 14th Street Y from October 11th-14th. For more information, please visit www.14streety.org/nowplaying.