Archive for Thursday, April 8, 1999

MARGARET JENKINS REVIEW

April 8, 1999

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Margaret Jenkins Dance Company's latest work-in-progress, "Time After: Breathe Normally," mixes live theater, photographic projections and a musical-narrative soundtrack into an exciting 70-minute work that captures the ambiguity, fragmentation and emotional impact of memories.

In this case, the memories belong to Academy Award-winning actress and creative consultant Olympia Dukakis, whose voice -- she does not appear in the production -- tells the story of a series of events in her family: Eight -- or was it six? -- family members are killed in a car accident. Grandfather is killed when trying to jump off -- or was he running to catch -- a train?

"Time After: Breathe Normally," performed Wednesday night to a modest crowd at the Lied Center, defines what we have all experienced: The grief and disorder following the death of a loved one. The humor and absurdity of some family interactions. The pain and confusion when our memories of an event differ from those of other family members.

In addition to the thought-provoking content of the performance-art piece is the athletic, balanced movement of the seven dancers, who range in age from 32 to 72. The dancers move precisely and gracefully, striking strong poses that are made even more dramatic by the lighting design of Alexander Nichols.

In "Time After: Breathe Normally," the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and Dukakis have created a timeless work with the potential of connecting to all its viewers. The piece offers audience members a montage of impressions and allows them the luxury of drawing their own conclusions about its meaning.

And by doing that, "Time After: Breathe Normally" becomes an accurate reflection of life, where reality is based on our perceptions of an experience.

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is jbiles@ljworld.com.

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