Eben Kowler’s The Youngest Child, by Theresa Madaus

I watched the Youngest Child, not remembering its title.

I watched as young bodies danced up into the audience. As dancers flung their young hair on the stage. As they looked at each other, wearing young outfits.

Was I ever that young? Did I ever bare such beautiful, sexy young dancer legs? Of course I was that young, but I didn’t get that beautiful or brave until I was older. I am not that old yet, but still I feel my age, their age, the gap between.

I digress on a self-involved tangent. But this piece invited that. Or at least gave me some permission. This piece was internal; dancers looking at one another in pleasantly secret in-group, movement rolling within the body. Opaque in the way that thoughtful self-involved exploration can become. I felt it flit with the audience, breaking into the aisle ways, asking us to look two places at once. I felt it collapse back in on itself as it shrunk back to the stage, never staying in one state quite long enough.

Remembering it now, it had a structure that meandered out and back, and this was part of why I felt permission not to care too deeply. Not to NOT care, but to hold the piece with comfortable, casual interest.

I felt my interest wane. There was also permission for this to happen. And then success came through aborted laughter. Aborted laughter became aborted movements. This was something, then. And finally, the opacity was aborted. That thing I love, that trope I fall for every time- the self-reflexive monologue. This time delivered through karaoke microphone, in stereo with an acoustic voice. Acknowledging my boredom. My readiness to be done. Charming me with too-late introductions and a cajoling cadence. This was the antidote we needed. And then it too was aborted, cut off with the balloon drop and the song as it was about to climax. Unfulfillment is so satisfying.

 

Eben Kowler, Youngest Child

Works-in-Progress, Red Eye Theater

May 29-June 1, 2014

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