Lisa Giobbi Movement Theatre: What Must It BeLike to Fly?

Local Arts Reviews


Lisa Giobbi Movement Theatre: What Must It Be Like to Fly?

One World Theatre, August 25, 2002

In his book Fisher's Hornpipe, writer Todd McEwen describes watching a goose flying high overhead. From far away the goose's task appears effortless; she appears to hang in the sky. Were you to fly alongside the goose, however, you'd note what a difficult task flight is for her: the labored breathing, the never-ending beating of her wings, just to keep herself aloft, to keep from falling. Choreographer Lisa Giobbi seems to have found a way to fly with an effortlessness that would make whole flocks of geese jealous. In the intimacy of the One World Theatre, Giobbi and her company affected the act of flight with grace and apparent ease. And Giobbi has embraced falling as a metaphor for describing all manner of human interaction with beautiful, hypnotic, and occasionally comedic results.

Using a trapeze, elastic bands, strips of fabric, rope, or bungee-like cords, Giobbi's troupe explored falling and flying that brought a diverse cast of characters onto the stage -- and into the air -- of the theatre. The opening piece, "Temptation," cast Giobbi as Eve to partner Timothy Harling's Snake, who slithered down unexpectedly from the ceiling to entice the girl into the sky for a passionate duet of aerial lovemaking. Harling's body was the trapeze in this show of exceptional grace that had the two dancers intertwined, spinning or swinging together. In another dance with Biblical undertones, "Babylon," dancer Rebecca Jung -- decked out in bright red, naturally -- offered a playful, exotic view from the heights, teasing all the way. "Sabastian," performed by John Mario Sevilla, was a moving work, a personal story of a man seeking an escape from impossible bonds. And Giobbi's performance in "Falling Angel" offered a magical view of a heavenly spirit, exploring both her airy world and how her body might move in that world. Giobbi appeared to simply float in space for the duration, turning, reaching, bending, running in slow motion, just a few feet above the stage. In each aerial dance, no matter the underlying image or story, the sense of exploration pervaded: What must it be like to be freed from the restrictions of the earth, to stretch out and soar alone or in unison with your partner? It is a simple yet moving question, posed for Giobbi's characters in flight.

Of the earthbound pieces, "Give Me A Sign" was darling and simple, and maintained that sense of exploration, of hopeful unknowing. Giobbi and Harling stood isolated in alternating spotlights while going through a high-speed barrage of mimes of primping and panicking over hoping to catch the eye of that special someone at a festive occasion. Finally, when all seemed hopeless, their eyes met, and off they went, together at last and happy.

Giobbi deserves as much credit for maintaining an upbeat neutrality over her subject matter in her choreography as she does for the sheer hypnotic effect of her creativity. Whether Biblical or social or sexual or personal, in moments dark as well as light, each dance left a feeling of openness, of possibility. Such is the freedom when you've unlocked the secrets of flying.

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Lisa Giobbi Movement Theater, One World Theatre, Fisher's Hornpipe, Todd McEwen, Lisa Giobbi, Timothy Harling, Temptation, Babylon, Rebecca Jung, Sabastian, John Mario Sevilla

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