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AUDIENCE REVIEW: The Great Tamer
Beautiful bare bodies, astronauts, and an exquisite set full of surprises. I spent the evening of Friday, November 15th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where I had the opportunity to experience Dimitris Papaioannou’s “The Great Tamer”. Premiering in 2017, “The Great Tamer” was Papaioannou’s first international co-commissioned work. I had the privilege of attending during the 2019 international tour. A quarter until the top of the 7:30 show, the curtains were up, revealing to the audience a very raked stage and a well dressed man laying down stage. Not even 20 seconds into the production, the man walked to the upstage corner and completely undressed himself. There was a significant amount of nudity in this piece, which is something one may want to consider prior to bringing their children to this particular performance.
I use the term “production” interchangeably with “piece” or “work” because of how extravagant the performance was. The sound effects, the destruction of the set, and trap doors; it was no average dance performance. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt other than that I was interested to see how the piece would unfold. The motif of dressing and undressing was present throughout the entire 1 hour and 40 minute performance. The 10 dancers were literally falling in and out of the set, almost as if they were falling in and out of holes to a different universe. Papaioannou’s use of optical illusions was magnificent. A woman with the legs of two different men making her way across the stage in an uncoordinated way added an element of satire to the production.
“The Great Tamer” was immersed with symbolism and gestural movements. A breathtaking tumbleweed of a man and woman, skin to skin, rolling in slow motion across the stage. The eerie breathing of an astronaut moving through space as if gravity were nonexistent. A flustered dancer digging up dirt and rock from within the stomach of the stage. A man jousting his fingers into the ribcage of another dancer, causing her to slither her way across the stage. Despite the use of comedic relief, there was a dark undertone that followed from beginning to end. I found the work of Dimitris Papaioannou to be incredibly entertaining and pure genius.