- BEGINAGAIN The set made me think of a black-and-silver forest.
On one side of the stage, there’s a woman lying on her side on a patch of dirt. She’s seemingly encased in a papier-mâché cast of her own body. She’s there for a long time—the show hasn’t started yet, and the audience is filing in, drinks in hand. It’s a sold-out house. What is she thinking? What happens if she gets itchy? Is she cold? What if she has to pee, or falls asleep? Then the lights go down, the chirping of crickets the only sound in the room.
Two dancers, both women, appear in the middle of the stage, rhythmically stomping their feet in a dim, almost undersea-ish light. The light goes out again, but the dancing/stomping continues, the air in the completely dark theater vibrating with their movements. The lights come up, and the stomping continues, but the dancers are not doing the stomping, it turns out; they’re twirling and lightly stepping around each other. Unless their lithe, petite forms are sporting the weight of an average strongman, those stomping sounds are coming from somewhere else. Trippy.
Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey’s new work, BeginAgain, is a whole lot of trippy. There’s a lot of illusion in the piece—or, more specifically, illusions in front of illusions, not magic-show-style gimmickry but combinations of dance and music and video and light that transform the space in completely unexpected ways. Huge, sheer curtains hanging at angles on either side of the stage shake and shimmer while full-size projections of curtains shaking and shimmering are projected onto them—then the projections turn dark, possibly storm clouds overlaid with swarms of moving black spots. Gradually, black-and-white images emerge through the swarms: perfectly coiffed schoolgirls furiously scribbling something on paper and occasionally grinning up at the camera. Look at me! They seem to say. Aren’t you pleased with me?
As if in answer...