Monday, July 23, 2012

KC Fringe "Missouri Momentum x3" review by Detailer

Missouri Momentum's dance is good
Rating: 3

Missouri Momentum x 3
KC Fringe Festival

The large group of performers use dance, sound, slides, videos, readers' theater, and monologues to highlight three topics: bullying, the Occupy movement, and the tornado in Joplin.

Overall, I found this an intriguing experience which held my attention.

Dance is their best element, and this group uses movement in very interesting ways to illustrate the topic and evoke emotion. They use the space very well and keep my interest completely with fascinating stage pictures and movements that communicate clearly and with power. I especially enjoy the use of sheer curtains and sounds from their bodies as part of the effect.

This show is worth seeing just for the dance, especially in the last segment.

The third segment, about the tornado, seems most complete in its story and intent. Sometimes I'm not quite sure what result is desired from the first two segments, although the bullying segment is effective as a stand-alone piece.

These are all worthwhile topics, but I do miss an overarching theme connecting them into one performance piece. The first two seem to call for some sort of public action, so I expected the coverage of the tornado to focus on how to help, perhaps, or some other action to be taken. I do not get that impression from that third segment. It seems more to be highlighting the people involved in the event at the time, as a tribute of remembrance and thanks for those who helped each other, without a call for us to look at our society as the first two segments do.

So I would like to see an opening segment that sets out an overall theme for the piece, connecting moments throughout, and a closing segment that ties everything together and makes the theme relevant to the audience. As it stands now, it is three pieces whose only connection is some of the same performers.

I personally do not enjoy forced audience participation, so some of this production made me uncomfortable in its execution. I think this style would be highly effective for certain target audiences, especially young people. I did not get a program, so perhaps that is exactly this group's intent. If so, my discomfort is irrelevant, but I would have appreciated either a program or a curtain speech explaining that.

The Occupy segment is my least favorite, largely because they drop their strength of dance and focus on spoken word and audience participation. The readers' theatre section is better executed than the monologues; but I found most of the writing to be less creative and inspiring than I would like, and its delivery not as polished or compelling as it needs to be for effect.

The standout performer in this section is the crowd-control cop. He has it memorized and takes on the character. That is a powerful moment.

There is an interesting concept of the woman who is technically in the 1 percent yet wants to make the case that she is also struggling. It is hard for someone in the 99 percent to hear her when she says her family earns $90,000 a year and yet can't afford health insurance. But I do like to hear others' points of view, and I am left unsatisfied, wanting to hear her defend her stance. I need a longer, more in-depth speech to explain that.

If you don't mind the appeal for audience participation, and approach this as a look at three separate topics without trying to find a common theme or purpose, then I think you will enjoy most of this show.

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