The Dance Insider
Ich Bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe Eigestelt
Falling with Scott Rink
By Chris Dohse
NEW YORK- Scott Rink has created a mature, singular style, and is an assured director, combining human movement with elegant dancing as an extension of that humanity. His strong theatrical images bring to mind works as dissimilar as those of Bebe Miller and Kriota Wilberg. Within the decrepit but somehow wonderful space of the American Theater of Actors on 54th Street Tuesday, Rink presented two dance plays, one a premiere, “Seductions Of The Desert,” and one from last year, ‘On Hid Deathbed, Holding Your Hand.” Rink has adapted both from unlikely sources for dance material, odd literary shorts.
I don’t know which is more amazing: that Mr. Rink has found a partner (Lenna Parr) who is as tall as he is, or that she embodies his vocabulary so fully. “Seductions” is a showcase for Parr. Her foolish heroine, Karen, has trouble separating fantasy from reality. She’s a middle-aged also-ran in the game of life, and the object of her affection, danced by Rink, is an untrustworthy drifter. Their imaginary romance, adapted from a short story by Tim O’Brien, plays out against a landscape of Mexican desert and supporting characters, inmates of a retirement home, all impeccably portrayed by Rink’s fine ensemble cast.
As O’Brien’s narrative unfolds, solos for Parr are interspersed with sections of spoken text, pedestrian activity by the chorus of retirees, and duets for Parr and Rink. Parr captures effortlessly Rink’s long, elegant line and specific gesture. A seated duet has the polished unison of Broadway. Dancing is used to illuminate character and text. Later, Rink and Kevin Scarpin burst into a short, athletic duet as things begin to look a bit dire for Karen. Throughout, Rink’s simultaneously angular and fluid qualities, clarity and delicacy of form, perfectly matched by his dancers, unfold the awkward, unresolved elements of the story.
“On His Deathbed,” takes place against a disturbing mise en scene. A dying man narrated his hatred for his only son. Within an eerie, expressionistic hospital set, Rink dances the son at several stages of life, while Steve Anderson lies propped up in bed, visually standing in for Victor Truro’s evocative narration of the fathers’ thoughts, taken from the play by David Foster Wallace. Scott Marshall’s unnerving score combines B-movie horror of “Eraserhead” with Strauss’s sublime “Wiegenlied” and one of the most unheimlich recordings of all time, William Burroughs drunkenly slurring “Ich Bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe Eingestelt.”
As the sickly son in toddlerhood, Rink is creepy, latescent and scrofulous in an extended solo atop a stool, wearing Tomoko Naka’s skin-like body suit. Wallace’s powerful, complicated language batters and flows over the scene. Rink creates an extreme, pretzelly movement language to reveal the primordial moment. A duet for Rink, possibly now the father as a young man, dancing with Parr as the mother/wife, uncannily juxtaposed against Burroughs, fills my eyes with tears.