Thursday, February 22, 2018

“Distant Pen Pals from the Sea”

by Emily Misencik ’14

Arts Editor 

On Wednesday, April 25, Trinity Students performed “Distant Pen Pals from the Sea” in the Trinity Commons Performance Lab. The piece involved three work-in-progress excerpts from a larger work, all set in with simple black backgrounds. Artistic Director Trinity/La MaMa Urban Arts Semester in NYC and Visiting Lecturer, Department of Theater and Dance, Michael Burke wrote, choreographed and conceived the piece in collaboration with Danee Conley ’14, Avery Dwyer ’14, Dana McIntosh ’14, and Brittany Payton ’12.

The piece opened with the four girls dressed in black attire, moving in synchronic motion to the music’s’ beats. The opening musical number did not have any words, but rather a variety of rhythms and sounds. Towards the end of the opening scene, the four dancers began to include red sheets as props into their dance piece. Three of the dancers held the large red sheet in front of them, interchanging with the other dancer moving across the stage. The girl dancing appeared to be searching for something, gliding across the floor with a purposeful gaze.

In the second excerpt, Burke took the spotlight. He positioned himself center stage with no other dancers or cast members. Burke began to read a letter to the late Anne Frank from an individual named Harmony. In the letter, Harmony states he learned about Frank through her autobiography in class and wishes to meet her. Harmony comments on his struggles and compares Idaho to Europe during that particular era. The piece was particularly interesting and moving, capturing the audiences’ attention.

In the third and final excerpt from the larger word, the four Trinity dancers dressed in black returned to the stage. This time, they performed a choreographed dance to an upbeat song with lyrics. The song repeatedly mentioned the phrase “under your spell” as the dancers performed in rhythmic motions. In particular, the dancers stroke many sleeping poses, allowing a lip-sync dialogue between two of the dancers to occur. Overall, each individual piece from “Distant Pen Pals from the Sea” was compelling and well executed. The excerpts left the audience questioning and anticipating the larger work.

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