Over the past three decades, Big Dance Theater’s founders Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar have developed an intriguing oeuvre of quirky, inventive dance-theatre pieces, so it is not surprising to find them in mighty fine form this evening, for the New York premiere of their latest work, Alan Smithee Directed This Play: Triple Feature.
As the piece progresses, somewhat dizzyingly, Big Dance Theatre litters the stage with fragments of images, and techniques referencing the films that inspired the work: patches of leather and fur and those mod patterns from the 70’s appear in unlikely places in the costumes, dialogues put the Russian revolution, the kitchen sink, crime and romantic strife on a delightful collision course, with playful overdubbing (in movement and dialogue) of film scenes projected on the Venetian blinds, which occasionally open to reveal secondary action in the background.
And here, ultimately, is where the work’s title comes in: for those of you who may not be film buffs, "Alan Smithee" is the pseudonym that Hollywood assigns to film credits once a director abandons a production over “creative differences”, effectively divesting him/herself from the ownership of the project. The title, in this case, is ironic, of course – as Big Dance Theatre owns this one, big time.
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