Just a Phase
As Experienced at the La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 WOW Festival
The Show & How it Works:
You arrive at the “hub” of WOW to a stage outdoors, on which eight dancers — in turn and in various combinations — will perform a program of ten short dance pieces. Each piece represents one of various phases or experiences in a person’s life (e.g., childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, independence, relationships, community).
Why it’s Interesting, IMHO:
It explores narrative through dance and does so outdoors.
Initial Impression & Critical Discussion:
I had wondered if, being outdoors, the show would be immersive or site specific. In terms of site-specificity, it didn’t incorporate the location, however it was interesting to note that the use of a built outdoor stage raised the level of the action so that the treetops became the scenic design, instead of the bare trunks and other audience members that would have been front-of-eye at a lower level.
While the occasional airplane flew overhead mid-piece, temporarily overpowering the music, it was a nice reminder that we were all outdoors, together, enjoying theatre — an opportunity that has not felt easy or often the past few years. With the stage in the park, the show became a sort of theatre in the round, and the performance pieces themselves played well to that format.
The choreography was beautiful, the dancers talented and the narrative, light and open to interpretation.
Experiential Viewpoint Expression (E.V.E.):
Embodied, 3rd person visual, third person narrative, non-entity, mortal
Who Should See This?
I’d recommend this piece to anyone who either likes dance or is dance-curious. In the outdoor setting, there’s no feeling trapped in a theatre and no need to worry “what if” they don’t like it; for some, that might just provide the opportunity for them to realize they like it more than they expected.