Posted: Fri, Nov. 4, 2011, 3:00 AM
By Merilyn Jackson
For the Inquirer
I can’t say how enjoyable it was to see MacCallum dance here again, after her departure from Philadelphia. She’s an artist whose mysterious quality reminds me of a 19th-century poet – frail, romantic, possibly a little shy or neurotic. Paired with Cousineau’s cool rationality, it made for a glorious frisson that lasted throughout the one-hour dance theater piece. Together they wove a spellbinding web of fantasy.
Dressed in a man’s black suit, Cousineau is like a scientist dissecting a bird. From it, she pulls various objects – a red ribbon, a blue feather, twigs – no doubt secreted to decorate the nest. As Cousineau deliberately arranges the objects and notates them, MacCallum interferes like a little magpie, creating disorder.
They veil their heads in black, don pink or red high heels, crawl under the table. MacCallum becomes a specimen lying on the table, ripping the paper sheet to shreds and eating it. Cousineau calmly removes the wad of paper from her mouth and places it in a jar.
Rosie Langabeer’s mournful accordion notes glaze the scene with a dreamlike aura. She later sings unearthly fragments of song: “Mad with honey” is one. In her clangorous percussion section the dancers squat, swoop, lunge to the floor and then, on all fours, behave erratically. They swerve their heads or torsos one way, pull back, teeter. A coat floats down behind Cousineau. She wraps herself inside and flaps the sleeves as it wafts her aloft.
Sometimes you can see the tuis flying about like that, whimsically capricious, intoxicated by fermented nectar.