Presented by Dharma Road Productions, Inc. as part of the seventh annual New York International Fringe Festival at the Play Room, 440 Lafayette St., NYC, Aug. 8-24.
The title "re" (pronounced ree) gives a unifying theme to these six pieces written and performed by five Japanese choreographers (Akiko Furukawa, Aiichiro Miyagawa, Aya Shibahara, Sakura Shimada, and Noriko Yasunaga). Thus we have "reality," "re-set," "re-real," "recycle," "refreshment," and "recite."
It's a clever idea, which unfortunately comes to naught as the program evolves. Neither the choreography nor the performances reaches an acceptable level of professionalism. One questions whether any of the four are trained dancers—and, if so, trained where and by whom?
Though the videos used to supplement the works give some relief to the disappointing dance performances, they cannot save the show. Even the one full-length video (a story in itself) called "Recycle Project" is a tiresome, pointless exercise. A chubby little girl, dressed in a fussy costume that trails after her, wanders through a café and into the streets, apparently trying to connect with people. Ultimately, she makes contact—not with other human beings, but with rats. The focus is on garbage, and one is tempted to dismiss the piece in the same terms!
Another piece, titled "Refreshment x Recycle + Reflect = ?," is aptly named, as this, too, adds up to nothing. Two dancers wander through the audience distributing lollipops, which the forgiving, tolerant audience accepts with laughs. It's enough to send one running from the building to the nearest Japanese restaurant for first-class sushi!
It is only at the close of the show, when the entire cast comes on stage to take their bows, that signs of real professionalism surface. The five dancer-choreographers offer an original and clever way to say farewell. Unfortunately, it's too little and too late.