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IMPRESSIONS: caitlinadams/Heidco and Collin Kelly in Split Bill at Triskelion Arts

IMPRESSIONS: caitlinadams/Heidco and Collin Kelly in Split Bill at Triskelion Arts
Dot Armstrong

By Dot Armstrong
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Published on January 14, 2020
caitlinadams/Heidco, METALBODY; photo Sheridan Telford

caitlinadams/Heidco, METALBODY

Created by Caitlin Adams, in collaboration with performers

Performers: Maggie Beutner, Erin Bishop, Kelsey Greenway, Tariq Mitri

Sound Design and Composition: Zack Vidal // Additional Music: Devin Ronneberg

Set Designer: Sam Shoemaker // Additional Collaborating Dancers: Kristyn Arch and Lir Katz

A metal square hangs above the dancers as they weave and scatter. A shiny rectangle upstage — a flash of light in darkness — looms. Is it a cage, a structure, a symbol? This shape charges the stage with futuristic energy. Four dancers respond in kind, muscling and swinging into mechanical movements calculated to design a bright new world of angles and edges. Clad in shades of charcoal and gunmetal gray, their bodies resemble the minimalistic set pieces. They are, as the title suggests, metal bodies: extensions and elaborations of the post-apocalyptic fantasy suggested in the stage design. All around them, the film-noir lighting fortifies the work with nuance and shadow, making a tangible world where there was once a black box theater.

Two women face each other and lift their arms
caitlinadams/Heidco, METALBODY; photo Sheridan Telford

These four dancers, world-makers, take turns leading each other through complex movement games opaque to our comprehension. Maggie Beutner’s hands furl and sweep, each finger gauging the texture of the air and forecasting the next moment. She bends spacetime, folding and unfolding herself with hydraulic ease and titanium elegance. Kelsey Greenway’s red hair is a bright smear in the blackness as she darts and crumples in arcing patterns. In the white glare of the LED strip light that Tariq Mitri holds for her, Kelsey towers on forced arch and collapses into luxurious backbends. Tariq turns the light upon himself and mobilizes his hips and shoulders into liquid rotations while descending into deep lunges with heavy power. Caught in the white glare too, Erin Bishop telescopes her legs wide and cranes her neck. She throws gestures and lines with quicksilver virtuosity.

Three dancers kneel and place their hands on each other
caitlinadams/Heidco, METALBODY; photo courtesy of the artist

The world on stage exists for those who occupy it — we can’t quite enter, not yet, as they haven’t opened the box. But they are radiant, these metalworkers, moving as if mechanized. Something like Blade Runner, but set in an abstract, minimal theater.

Collin Kelly, he rip his shirt completely off

Created by Collin Kelly

Sound Design: Collin Kelly

Music Credits: “High You Are by What So Not, Track Of The Cat” by Pram, “This Mystery of Heaven” by Jim Jarmusch and Jozef Van Wissem, “A Heart of Glass” by This Mortal Coil

A startup bro, a yogi, a 70’s porn star, a So You Think You Can Dance try-hard, and a mysterious guy in a black turtleneck walk into a theater. Psych! They’re all played by Collin Kelly.

In a button-down and khakis, he explains the secret of his financial success to a laptop. It’s set up to display the video in real-time onto a screen taped downstage. He tells us to believe him. We know that asshole too well! Is this stand-up comedy?

Collin Kelly swings his long dark hair
Collin Kelly, he rip his shirt completely off; Photo by Maria Baranova

Before we can decide, the slacks come off and on go tie-dyed cotton pants and a cutaway t-shirt. He shows off a downward dog into a half-moon pose into a standing split into a pigeon pose — and EXHALE! We know this guy, too, better than we’d like to admit. Savasana; subscribe here!

The man bun stays, but zebra-print shorts replace the tie-dye pants. It’s improv challenge time, he announces to the laptop, and he’s “feelin’ the ooey-gooey moves” today. He’s giving us spastic ecstatic gestures interpolated with gratuitous leaps, axel jumps, pirouettes, and arabesques. How many layers into the internet of vanity are we going?

Scene change: a fur coat, sunglasses, the zebra shorts. It’s a surrealist disco interlude, sans computer. There’s a cinematic quality to the section, produced by the dim, pinkish lighting and the cowboy-movie music. He scurries, shimmies, corkscrews, and grooves with purposeful abandon. Perhaps he is a love child of the previous ego trips we’ve witnessed.

Collin Kelly performs a yogic handstand
Collin Kelly, he rip his shirt completely off; Photo by Maria Baranova

A guy in a black turtleneck appears. He launches into an increasingly complex soliloquy while blowing up an inflatable stump. Ranting about the philosophical concepts that have gotten us to this moment in the performance while appearing to levitate atop the stump, he transcends logic. He is possessed by explanation, traversing an unseen realm where things signify beyond meaning. And the clichés come back, bigger, badder, and more banal. Maybe there’s no punch line. Or maybe it’s not the number of jokes we make, but the number of jokes that take our breath away.

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