Hip Shot: ‘From Sublime to Divine’
Saturday, July 24, at 8 p.m.
They Say: "A tale of two strangers, who by chance, stumbled upon Odissi — an Indian classical dance. This playful story depicts their transformation in dance as they journey from sublime to divine. Their stories are captured through narration, story telling, and dance."
Trey's Take: Y'know, what they say up there? That's pretty much exactly what it is. Playful? Check. (Viz: flashes of humor in the script, plus unexpected music cues from Slumdog Millionaire's infectious "Jai Ho" to Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home.") Elements of dance? Check. (Two substantial solos, a shorter duet at the finale, plus brief snippets of movement in various scenes of study or rehearsal.) Narration and story? Check.
Well, semi-check. The book — at least what we'd call the book, if this were, y'know, a musical — is the weakest element of this hourlong autobiographical show from Nazanin Baygani and Lisa Santhanam. The voiceovers, which do both expositional and explanatory work as the ladies get to know each other Stateside and travel to India to learn more about their discipline, can be a touch wordy; the dialogue, which seems either underwritten or awkwardly improvised, gets overridden on occasion by the recorded music and the sound of the bells dancers wear around their ankles in Odissi and other classical Indian styles. (And by the whir of fans, for which thank god: The Apothecary has been one of the warmer Fringe venues.)
But uncharacteristically, I didn't mind so much: The dance is lovely to watch, the women's passion for what they do comes through loud and clear, and there's a charm in this decidedly personal project that's missing from some of Fringe's more labored labors of love. It's not edgy or pointed or scathing or angry. It's just two people doing a thing they do pretty well, and having what looks like a pretty good time.
See It If: You're looking for a first-person story that isn't agonized, isn't a monologue, and isn't quite what you expected.
Skip It If: Polish, rather than idiosyncratic little surprises, is what you've come to Fringe for.