TBA 2011: tEEth

By Claudia La Rocco September 11, 2011

I’m not sure what the capacity of The mOuth at Zoomtopia is, but I’m pretty sure we were way beyond it for tEEth’s Home Made last night. And I can’t even tell you how long the lines were to get into Ten Tiny Dances. Well, I probably don’t have to; chances are, you were there along with everyone else in the city. It was a lovely night at The Works.

One of the things I love about tba is how much excitement PICA seems to build around this festival each year. “Community outreach” and “engagement” and all those terms always make me throw up a little bit in my mouth. But tba and Portland seem to have (and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m just a tourist here) a really good, unforced relationship going—especially compared to a city like New York, where the density of cultural offerings tends to lead to stratified audiences.

So, well … I’m sure lots of the folks crammed into The mOuth for tEEth (is there some strange oral/capitalization fixation happening in Portland?) loved it.

I was not one of those folks. I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this troupe in recent months, including a positive prior review from Anne Adams on this very blog. This was my first time seeing the work, and I felt utterly shut down by it. The duet was dishearteningly cliché-laden in its depiction of the paradoxical thickets of emotions and impulses individuals must navigate within intimate relationships. Manipulation, vulnerability, tenderness, violence, silliness, alienation … check check check. Nudity. More nudity. Yelling and screaming and nonsense talk and a little more nudity. Messing around with microphones. And then some polished dance technique.

This is an utterly reductive encapsulation. It is not a happy thing to write. The only thing I can say is that Home Made struck me as utterly reductive in its encapsulations of the human experience. It was not a happy thing to watch.

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