zoe|juniper's A Crack in Everything
It was like a photograph sprung to life, an image unraveling, a moving rumination. A Crack in Everything, the latest collaboration between dancer/choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey, played to packed houses at On the Boards last weekend, fusing impeccable performance and design into a philosophical feast for the senses.
The audience filed in from the lobby to find a long, exaggerated letterbox screen stretched across the stage—a fuzzy black and white image projected onto it, like static, perhaps, or maybe an extreme close-up on leaves, both of which could be heard in the ambient rustle coming from the speakers. In front of the cellophane-like screen, a shiny, white floor became a reflecting pool, separated from the screen by a red stripe running along the seam: the first of many cracks in everything.
This image and audio lured the audience into a trance before bright, hot, white lights turned on behind the screen to reveal two of the show's five dancers, their movements precise but natural, harsh but soft, like the light itself. Several quick, pulsing scenes later, one dancer backed onto the stage with a long piece of red yarn stretching from her open mouth to the wings, growing longer as she moved, her head and body pivoting below it. The yarn returned throughout the performance, creating an apt motif about the unfurling of language and time.
Scofield, Shuey and their exceptional team of designers (lighting by Robert Aguilar, sound by Matt Starritt, costumes by Erik Andor, compositions by Greg Haines) composed a 70-minute series of breathtaking images set in motion, each component tethered powerfully to an overriding idea that nothing is what it seems. In A Crack in Everything, time and space collapse, giving way to beauty and fractured memories.
Scofield's choreography was at once robotic and smooth, its arabesques and pointy elbows suggesting breaks in continuity. She and the show’s four other dancers gave an organic feeling to their every move, whether winding around the stage like unfurling curls of smoke or barking ferociously in the intense animalistic climax. (Scofield and Raja Feather Kelly, the show’s only male dancer, sat naked opposite each other, making the only human vocal sounds of the entire experience as they barked violently at each other, spitting, flailing and lurching—their mouths barely inches apart.)
Without a narrative to propel its big ideas, A Crack in Everything unfolded like a stream of subconciousness as projections appeared and disappeared in varying states of thrilling white light; sounds of ticking clocks deftly transformed into arias and driving industrial beats; gorgeous black and gold costumes recalled birds and ancient warriors. Together, they broke apart the boundaries of discipline and genre—and, with their hyper-modern approach, succeeded in portraying a timeless environment of the mind.
Photo by Christopher Duggan.