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The Waking Room

The Waking Room

Dan Merlo

Jonathan Meyer's preparations for The Waking Room—which began more than a year ago, with musical collaborator Christopher Preissing—included volunteering at Thresholds, a local organization that provides support for people with severe mental illnesses. The new evening-length work exploring what Meyer calls "nonordinary" states of consciousness is marked by spasmodic movement, by frequent blackouts that create snapshot scenes, and by the unusual space: a pie-shaped performance area in an art gallery, with a small couch and chair at its upstage apex. But most of all it's shaped by the three dancers: Meyer, Philip Elson, and Michel Rodriguez. In fact, their characters come through so strongly it's hard not to imagine a story for them—though Meyer says he had no narrative in mind. As mesmerizing as it is painful to watch, The Waking Room is a serious, caring work about the psyche. Kinetic artist Christopher Furman provides an installation of moving wings and faces, and Iris Bainum-Houle created the flouncy, flamboyant costumes.

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