Tones and stones

Where the props inspire the performance.

One of the most kinetic moments in Lelavision’s “Between Crimson and Midnight” show last weekend, ironically enough, wasn’t part of the dancing—at least not in the traditional sense. Composer and sculptor Ela Lamblin said he was just filling in during a costume change for the rest of the cast, but his performance on the Singing Stones, a huge installation of wire and rock, was an exquisite dance miniature. Drawing sound out of the lengths of wire with resin-coated gloves, gliding and pouncing on the strings, Lamblin’s performance was as much physical as it was aural.


Broadway Performance Hall

January 28-30

Leah Mann, Lamblin’s partner in Lelavision, worked hard with her collaborators Lynelle Sjoberg and Dana Phelps Marschalk to match that breathtaking ingenuity, with varying success. They were at their best dealing with various objects. In Red Snow, Mann became a sleight-of-hand artist, pulling a stageful of props out of her kimono in a repetitive ceremony. Marschalk makes herself the object in Barbie’s Bottom Line, wearing a prom dress of Barbie pink and hair teased like an artificial nimbus around her face. Her spoken text was a bit strident at times (Barbie’s 10 ultimatums to the Mattel Board of Directors; number two was breast-reduction surgery), but her impersonation of the fashion doll, arms and legs moving stiffly from shoulders and hips, feet in a perpetual high-heeled cramp, was sympathetic as well as sarcastic.

In Every Woman’s Baggage Is Useful, Mann and Sjoberg explore a rather grisly coincidence—they apparently both were operated on for a particular kind of twist in their ovaries. The recorded text is full of anatomical description and emotional responses, but the movement, mostly set on a low-hanging double-seated trapeze, goes further than a self-reflective journal entry. Like the swoop in our guts when we watch someone swinging, we respond to the physics of trapeze partnering with exhilaration and apprehension. We know it can be tricky, so that the symmetrical images the two dancers create on the swing go much further to illustrate a sense of twinned destiny than any hyperdramatic recitations of surgical instruments and procedures.

Throughout the evening we saw glimpses of Lamblin’s unique instruments, including an Orbitone (resembling an oversized metal walnut on legs) and a beautiful set of spinning chimes, as well as the Singing Stones installation. These will all be featured in “Rumitones, Orbitones, and Singing Stones,” Lelavision’s show this weekend at Broadway Performance Hall. It looks like the stage will be nice and full of things for Mann and Lamblin to explore.