Why "Dancing on the Edge" Is Such an Important Show

I fell in love with Lisa Channer watching her perform.

Well, Patrick and I both did (get your mind out of the gutter). We saw her work in progress during a Skewed Visions' 3-Play, and were amazed. A couple weeks later we talked to her for hours at a party and I swear int was a Minnesota version of a 1920s Paris salon, where we discussed life and art and felt exactly like we were in Gertrude Stein's living room, except we were on a deck on Maplewood.

So we thought she was awesome, and based on that Patrick joined the Theatre Novi Most board, and I help out as I can, and it's been a great relationship. I've really enjoyed everything I have seen there; the performances have been top rate, great direction, and it's been like being part of a lovely, somewhat crazy, Russian family (pass the vodka, please!)

And then Beatrix got cast as one of the "Isadorables" ....
(one of Isadora Duncan's Russian dance students) in a 5-minute their word premiere of Dancing on the Edge, about the relationship between Isadora Duncan and Sergei Esgenin.

So I knew this show would be wonderful for many reasons. The design team was amazing and crew were amazing. I knew the production, which has been a long time in development, would be greta. And of course, with my kid in it, how could it go wrong?

But I simply was under-prepared in so many ways for the effect this show would have on me.

For Lisa, on stage in this role, and embodying it completely and wholly. For the other cast members, who were almost as transcendent in their performances.

For a script that wrapped me up so completely that I can't stop thinking about it and what is says about communication, and relationships, and world politics, and the past, and the future. I can't even do it justice in writing about it. Buy me a glass of wine and we can discuss it. There's so much to unpack.

For audience members that threw themselves into going on the journey. It's not an easy show to follow — much of it is in Russian, with no translation. But that gripped the audience, held them hard, told the story in a way that it could not otherwise have achieved.

For the dancers, and the chance it gave Beatrix. I saw her grow and learn to love theatre and the community it creates in the past week, and I could not be prouder or more grateful. For the way they are needed in this show, which is a very heavy contemplation on art and life and relationships; without the final scene, where these girls give hope for the future, we would be left with only the tragic destinies of Duncan and Esgenin. And we all need hope right now. Sure I love it because my daughter was in it, but it's one of the most effective endings I have ever seen.

For me. I saw at least part of the show every night. It's been a long time since I have spent that much time with a play. It was incredible to me to watch every night, to note the changes made while elements are added or forgotten, to watch the interactions with the audience. It was  much-needed reminder of the living nature of theatre and why we need it.

If you were able to get a ticket to the sold-out shows, I'm glad you were there. If you were not, I'm still trying to figure out how it gains further life, so maybe you can. In either case, I would love to talk to you about all the things the show means — oh, and also to say again how ridiculously proud of my daughter I am.


Lisa said…
This is so lovely. I'm so fortunate you both were on that maplewood deck with me :)
Beatrix was transcendent. I thank you for her and for so much more. wine and chatting soon about life and art.
Hug, Lisa

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