By Eric J. Grimm
The M-34 and Cloud of Fools theater companies are exploring the yogic potential in works from August Strindberg, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Catherine Valente, Gertrude Stein, Anne Carson, Aravind Adyanthaya, Fanny Howe, Charles Bukowski, Jon Froehlich, and Grace Paley in their current production, All That Dies and Rises. The mostly movement-oriented play is a good showcase for its talented performers, though the piece could go further in mining the texts for abstract possibilities.
The capable and attractive ensemble of seven performers makes a full physical commitment and often forms nicely composed stage portraits as they contort their bodies in an animalistic manner. None of the ensemble members stand out but their strength as a unit makes for a compelling hour of theater.
The piece itself is admirable, though as an avant garde examination of the texts, it plays it fairly safe. The performers wear black and white undergarments and their stage movements and singing often have them falling into strict gender roles. The work is purported to have been conceived from an aborted production of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and I would like to have seen them play around more with gender roles in this original work. That said, the performers’ commitment and director James Rutherford’s careful construction of performers as set pieces make the effort worthwhile.
Performers: Christopher J. Cancel-Pomales, Camber Donahoe, Jon Froehlich, Rachel Kodweis, Maury Miller, Casey Robinson, and Emily Viancourt
All That Dies and Rises is showing at IATI Theater (64 E. 4th St.) through December 21st. For tickets, visit https://www.artful.ly/m-34-productions/store/events/4583.