SHARE at The Iron Factory: An eclectic collision of theatre and dance

by Courtney Colón for The Dance Journal

SHARE, a semi-annual performance series presented by The Iron Factory, provided an intriguing sampler of Philadelphia artists from various disciplines in an intimate setting.

Irina Varina’s charming Russian-American Odyssey began the evening. Varina opened by walking to different windows and defining each as geographical landmarks in her life, before approaching a bench center stage. As she moved, she conversed with the audience, narrating a generational oral history centered on myths surrounding money, before rushing into the bathroom. There, Irina shouted and cursed, frustrated these childhood myths had not materialized. Exiting the bathroom, she asked for the audience’s vocal participation in a witty ballad. In the end, Varina herself took a place amongst the audience. Russian-American Odyssey was engaging, using humor as a subversive weapon to question ideals embedded not only in Varina’s history but in humanity’s shared experiences.

Darcy Lyon’s Proceed with Caution (excerpt) pulled from modern dance traditions in its presentation. Opening with a trio of women moving together, a fourth male performer held space as a witness while speaking aloud in Spanish. So began a ritual of sorts-three dancers moving together as the fourth served as a spectator. As the group moved languidly and maintained contact throughout, the gaze shifted from one mover to the other. In these moments of transference, energy rippled through the performers-the one affecting the many.

Donning a cheap wig, red track suit reminiscent of gym teachers everywhere, and a hefty accent located just this side of Fargo, Madison Palffy’s The Dance of the Last Horse on Earth was a satirical punch in the face wrestling with decidedly darker themes. Palffy embodied an alter ego using techniques from motivational speakers to bolster her audience. But does she believe her own catchphrases? Dancing, rolling, and running in exhaustive circles, Madison seemed an enthusiastic participant in the rat race of life. Buzzing thickly underneath, however, was an inner self-questioning the chase, notably asking “Who am I?” In the end, as she turned the light onstage towards the viewer, we were left to reflect on these questions within ourselves.

Knowledge Lost was a commentary on the overwhelming and constantly changing deluge of technology that imprints on our collective consciousness. Musician Chris Baldys and technologist John Bezark used a projection of numerous cycling Wikipedia pages as a foundation, deleting and reworking the pages to the chords of Chris’ guitar. The second half of the piece found the duo giving a eulogy for the now deleted nineties game PaRappa the Rapper-a tribute to information lost, spoken with a delicious blend of organic and mediatized language.

Evalina Carbonell’s Carry concluded the evening with a rhythmic piece that built in intensity. Three women fluctuated between crisp synchronicity and dissonance, one performer at a time breaking off to move individually. The women created a bodily sound score, stomping, clapping, and using the floor to create a soundtrack, not unlike those produced by Step crews across the country. These women took up auditory and physical space, eventually leaving one by one to finish the piece.