Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Twice-told ‘Tempest’

“I would love if every audience member that came to see it knew ‘The Tempest,’ but that’s of course not true,” says Crystal Pite, director of the Vancouver-based dance troupe Kidd Pivot, about her new work, “Tempest Replica.” “So I thought, ‘Let’s tell it through an on-stage storyboard, with figures that are like the plastic people in an architectural model.’ They become a sketch of the story. It’s a way of trying to avoid the awkwardness of exposition.”

Set for a performance Sunday evening at the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, Kidd Pivot’s riff on Shakespeare is divided into two parts. In the first, the story of “The Tempest” is recounted as a kind of dumbshow, with the characters played by “replicas” — ghostly faceless spectres wrapped in white, whose automaton-like movements appear to be manipulated by a street-clothed Prospero. Voice-over and projected lines from the text guide the audience through the plot. In the second half, the cast returns stripped of disguise and proceeds to dance out the characters in their flesh-and-blood fullness, repossessing their human status and rejecting Prospero’s domination via choreography that echoes the movements of their “replica” selves but with augmented fluidity and passion.

While acclaiming its overall ingenuity, beauty and energy, reviewers have taken particular note of the show’s opening shipwreck sequence — a spectacularly staged affair of driving rain, wind-whipped clouds and tempest-tossed seas set to a rumbling musical score.

7 p.m. $15, $30, $35 general; $10 college students and ages 17 and under. Ticket holders are invited to a pre-performance talk by Miguel Romero of the UMass Theatre Dept. at 6:30 p.m. at the University Club. A talk-back with the dancers and Pite immediate follows the performance. 545-2511, fineartscenter.com class="Hyperlink">

— Dan DeNicola

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