Fringe review: Nocturnal Space

NOCTURNAL SPACE by Emily Rapley (Familiar Faces). At Al Green Theatre. July 9 at 6:45 pm, July 11 at 7pm,.


NOCTURNAL SPACE by Emily Rapley (Familiar Faces). At Al Green Theatre. July 9 at 6:45 pm, July 11 at 7pm, July 12 at 5:45 pm, July 13 at 9:45 pm, July 15 at noon. See listing. Rating: NNNN

If unsettling and thought-provoking contemporary dance is your thing, this bleak and pensive ensemble piece from choreographer Emily Rapley is a deep, dark rabbit hole youll wanna go down.

Exploring the theme of reality and the limits of perception, five dancers begin exploring the barren stage with jerky, stuttering movements their initial graceless flailing symbolizing frustration as they yearn for a more complete understanding of their world.

While some contemporary dance can be overly cryptic, Rapley provides the audience with enough hints to appreciate the big philosophical ideas under examination here. Soon the performers begin working with a long wide piece of black fabric, using it like a sheet to turn their bodies into disturbing amorphous forms. At other moments it becomes a restrictive rope-like boundary they try in vain to break through, and then a massive wall.

With chilling parallels to some of Becketts later ghost plays, the tortured figures here probe the edges of a grim existence in search of something more.

Another highlight is the haunting, pulsating ambient industrial soundscape by Alex Stavropoulos Laurie that aptly conjures some serious existential dread.

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