It’s hard enough coming up with a dance, let alone one about the discoveries of wheelchair-bound astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Hawking, of course, was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, shortly after his 21st birthday. As his health has deteriorated over the last 50 years, so has his mobility. He now requires a staff of nearly 40 people to care for him; at least four remain by his side at all hours of the day.
The choices made by Virginia-based Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre for its tribute to Hawking, A Life With No Limits, wound up making the work as much about the famed scientist’s interactions with the people keeping him alive as about Hawking and his theories themselves. “We wanted to explore that relationship,” says cocreator Dan Plehal. “What’s it like to completely rely on other people to get dressed in the morning, to move around from space to space, to drink water, to change your clothes?” As I watched a short video clip of a section called “The Lecture,” in which four dancers pile on top of one another like human Lego pieces, it was easy to imagine Hawking’s life—inner and outer—as a dance itself. The evening opens with selections from the company’s show Dream Logic.
Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre 7/28-7/30: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, the Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, 773-769-9112, edgetheater.com, $20, $15 students and seniors.