MONICA BILL BARNES SEPT 12 2014

I met up with some fellow ADF friends last night to attend the charming THREE ACTS, TWO DANCERS, ONE RADIO HOST, a collaboration between Ira Glass (public radio’s This American Life) and Monica Bill Barnes with Anna Bass. It was clear that a large portion of the audience had come to see Glass, who garnered vociferous entrance applause. The piece, billed as a collaboration between talk radio and dance, is a curious creation in three acts. All three performers are self-deprecating and silly, resulting an enjoyable and delightful evening. Ms. Barnes and Ms. Bass are robust and vibrant movers, and Mr. Glass is affable and warm.

Ms. Barnes’ choreography relies heavily on the musical choices, which range from Elvis Presley, Burt Bachrach, James Brown, and Marvin Hamlish’s “One”. Ms. Barnes and Ms. Bass have larger than life personalities on stage and clearly relish performing. Their hammy and athletic dancing was a joy to watch in the first act. The second act brought a more akward humor and third act, a more somber and melancholy feeling.

I admire all three artists for this collaboration. I remember seeing a radio detective piece that the James Sewell Ballet created with Garrison Keillor, but Ms, Barnes, Ms. Bass, and Mr. Glass are taking the collaboration of radio and dance further. It would be interesting to see Ms. Barnes and Ms. Bass develop more character-based humor in their dancing. Ms. Barnes admittedly loves using tricks like confetti cannons and balloons but they are never really incorporated into the dancing. I see a lot of potential for those elements. The show is already charming, but this might really strengthen it even more.

The piece will continue to tour the US this year and I look forward to seeing how the work develops further.

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