If SKIN TIGHT is any indication of what we are in for, the Bay Area theatre community can thank its lucky stars that Megan Finlay came to town. Part of what makes this area so vital for the arts is that so many people have very, very different ideas about what theater is and what theatre can be. Although some folks in the dance community have come close, nobody in the theatre world is doing quite what Ms. Finlay is doing. This singularity makes her work – and last night’s debut performance of her new company – very special.
The hour-long performance balances a lean script with tense, taut physicality. This could almost be marketed as dance, but for the fact that very single word in this very spare script by Gary Henderson takes on more weight and meaning than anything found in conventional drama. However, unlike most avant garde performances, this very noncerebral plot unfolds and gifts the audience with unexpected surprises.
Beth Deitchman is positively luminous in her performance of Elizabeth. Once could say that Deitchman and Nathanial Justiniano embody male and female energies, except for their very corporeality. Deitchman and Justiniano are Everywoman and Everyman as they tumble and cavort and splash their way through an almost embarrassingly intimate 60 minute performance. I confess, the last ten minutes or so were so very, very personal I found myself watching trumpeter Aaron Priskorn, who remained on the set the entire performance, rather as a guardian angel.
Chatting with Ms. Finlay after the performance, I learned that she anticipates producing McBeth some time in 2012. I cannot begin to imagine what Finlay would do with that script, which seems orders of magnitude more complex that SKIN TIGHT – but I plan on finding out.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Thursdays – Saturdays, August 12 – 28th. All shows 8pm.
CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St. (at 9th St.)