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Brooklyn Academy of Music

Performance Date:
November 15, 2019

Freeform Review:

On Friday, November 15, I had the privilege of seeing The Great Tamer, conceived and directed by Dimitris Papaioannou at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Howard Gilman Opera House.  This morbid and twisted tale transports the audience for an hour and forty minutes to an upside-down world filled with unpredictable scenarios.

The use of nudity is immediately made comfortable with the audience in the opening scene where one dancer undresses and lays in the center of the stage while repeatedly being covered and uncovered by a sheet, exposing himself.  For myself, the most uncomfortable part of this performance was not the nudity, but the painful and prolonged repetition of these actions; although making a point to the audience that the nudity will be used throughout the show, I thought it could have been done much more efficiently and less boring.

This uncomfortable, disturbing, and chilling story uncovers right beneath a flowerpot.  The whole performance is rooted in the idea of all humans coming from the earth and returning to the earth (or receding into the earth) upon death.  This is shown through the recurring themes of plants, roots, and dirt.  The originality and use of the dancers’ bodies to create captivating visuals is ingenious, giving a whole new perspective to how one can produce movement and illusions using the simple means of the human body.

The use of comedic satire and disturbing manipulations of the body is used to create and un-comfortability within the audience, while also creating a sense of ease and not taking life too seriously.  The whole performance is a surrender of manipulation of the human body; which is hinted at slightly with the brief waving of a white flag; showing that one really has no control over themselves and there is something much bigger that humans are a part of, in this case being the cycle death. 

This performance of The Great Tamer exceeded my expectations of weird.  The creative genius of Dimitris Papaioannou did an outstanding job of making the uncomfortable comfortable, while also inducing an endless prodding and stimulation of the brain throughout the entirety of the performance.  This is a performance that I could not see every weekend but am thankful for its opening up of my brain and its influence on new thoughts and ideas of the possibilities of humans.

Meghan Boyle

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