We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.
The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?
The shoulders carry pain; they hunch to ward off harm. And the shoulder girdle–that vulnerable, sinewy, crucial part of the body from which the more consciously expressive arms and hands hang–is the focal point of Rimasto Orfano (“Abandoned Orphan”). In this 75-minute piece for six performers by Italian choreographer Emio Greco and Dutch director Pieter C. Scholten (PC), the shoulders twist, grind alarmingly askew, pull back harshly, grow spastic and windmill the arms wildly. Rimasto Orfano conveys the sense that its characters are helpless in the face of their visceral reactions to abandonment, their motions out of control whether they’re twitching spasmodically or lying rigid on their sides. The set and costumes suggest the orphanage or madhouse: three high walls of crumpled cloth are textured but featureless, while a single bare lightbulb hangs center stage, and the dancers wear balloony anonymous shifts with an unraveling hole for the neck and long sleeves that hint at the unbound arms of straitjackets. Opening and closing images of a woman in a blond, curly wig with a pale face and red lips recall Marilyn Monroe, an icon of vulnerability whose seductiveness was merely a symptom of her pain. Together the purposely limited vocabulary, stark lighting, and nerve-jangling soundscape and music (by Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon) entrap the viewer in a mind-set that seeks but can never find relief, not in isolation, not in community. Fri-Sat 4/8-4/9, 7:30 PM, Sun 4/10, 3 PM. Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010. $22. Note: The artists will give a talk after the Friday show; free to ticket holders. And there will be a free roundtable on viewing and writing about dance on Saturday at 2 PM, MCA Kanter Meeting Center.