Fancy flights

I Forgot to Breathe

By Paula Plessas and Ann Robideaux
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Elias Stimac

The next time you see listings for a show choreographed by Paula Plessas and Ann Robideaux, run to the box office. Not only was their latest two-night stand at Chashama completely sold-out, but the half-dozen pieces presented during the evening were each winners in their own right -- a perfect combination for an evening of charming, chilling, challenging dance.

The six-pack started with a surreal spin. Zap featured two performers (Aaron Draper and Plessas) flitting and flailing around a white-hot light (which resembled a bug zapper). Against a backdrop of mirrors, Draper and Plessas created a synchronized syncopation in movement and rhythm that mesmerized the audience. The white outfits designed by Cammi Yamashiro were humorously covered in netting, and Ted Coffey's percussive series of static-filled sounds heightened the experience.

The other two segments choreographed by Plessas and Robideaux were equally intoxicating. Remap also featured music by Coffey, and a cast that combined machine-like moves with office-level anxiety to carry out the duo's carefully-constructed choreography. Draper performed notably again, with a female cast of cohorts including Cassie Mey, Marcia Brooks, gNatalie Rodic, Amber Smith, and Kathryn Duyn.

Mothers and Mallwalkers was saved for the finale, and rightfully so. The wonderful world of workouts, complete with day-glo aerobics outfits, was given its due by performers Natalie L'Etoille, Brooks, Rodic, and Plessas. The comedy was at its peak as the instructor figuratively and literally melted down before the viewers' eyes. It was musically arranged to a "T" by Jeff Schacher, featuring an energetic song by Debbie Drake.

Mezzanine was a collaboration between Robideaux and Rosa Marie Torres. It humorously began with the two dancers seated on stage as if they were audience members, reading their programs while waiting for the show to begin. It turned into a marvelous mirror exercise where the one woman copied the other meticulously, until she went off into a flight of fancy (and Flamenco dancing). The twist at the end was indicative of this team's storytelling talents.

Plessas went solo on Another Plane, and what a ride it was! Beginning with a blue light projected on a back-wall screen, the dancer used shadow and subtlety to take an imaginative journey of the mind, and brought every onlooker with her. Music by Stockhausen was expertly arranged by Schacher again, and the result was sheer bliss.

The remaining dance, Sorry Roberta, was created by Aaron Draper. A combination of choreography, monologue, and a recorded prank call, the performer recounted a tense tale about a rabbit and a dog that was hilarious, accompanied by erratic steps and outrageous voiceovers. The music was maniacal, courtesy of Ben La Maorte and GS Sachdev.

 Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 2
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2003 Jade Esteban Estrada