Loom Ensemble has produced a show displaying a tapestry of circus talent and drama that delighted its audience. In Olympus, directed and written by co-founder Michael Bauer, the leading gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece show their hubris and open disregard for the human race. Bauer’s script, performed for the first time at Dixon Place in New York City (April 10th-12th), seamlessly weaves together the stories of Hephaestus and Hera, Ares and Aphrodite, and Prometheus making for a moving retelling of a few tales in Greek mythology.
The energetic, mesmeric circus acts woven within-aerial rope act (Sloan Bradford, Hearts of Gold at the West End, Asylum at The Muse), poi spinning (Benjamin E. Oyzon, AlRealistic, Exploding Moment), trick ropes/juggling (Harold Moeller, Britney Spears’ Circus tour, Ringling Bros.), roué Cyr wheel routines (Courtney Giannone, American Ballet Theatre, Team USA Wheel Gymnastics; Randy Kato, Burning Man Fire Conclave; and Michael Bauer, Javert in Les Miserables)-paired with dramatic acting beautifully illuminated the stories of the gods well. Acceptable for children and adults alike, the ninety-minute, one-act play entertained from beginning to end and was more than worth the $15.00 general fee.
Bauer dusted his script with humor, lightening the mood of otherwise dark and gloomy anecdotes successfully bringing them out of antiquity and making them 100% enjoyable. The kinship and antics of Giannone (Artemis) and Bauer (Apollo), the polished comedy of Harold Moeller (Dionysus), Autumn Kioti (Aphrodite) and Thomas Schario (Hephaestus) gave the show its humorous push.
Particularly engaging, strong acting performances also seen in Madeline Hoak (Hera) and Sasha Bogdanowitsch (Hermes). Hoak founded Upsidown Productions and performs internationally with the Gwirtzman Dance Company. Bogdanowitsch has performed worldwide and has worked with American composer Meredith Monk.
Sasha Bogdanowitsch’s soulful music and Bauer’s costumes were terrific. Bogdanowitsch’s use of the lyre, drums and xylophone created an ethereal, otherworld atmosphere. Bauer’s costumes were tasteful, crisp and clean, evoking the god-feel for each actor appropriately while allowing for far-reaching physical performances.
The set was small and lean save for the necessary apparatus mounted to the ceiling. The show was the cast. The cast was fantastic as is their combined list of accomplishments. Many have performed worldwide and on television, i.e. Sam Stage, Zeus, doubled for Elijah Wood and Paul Walker; Kioti’s work can be seen this June as a stunt double on POWER; and Schario has appeared on Deadly Devotions and D.O.A. See their site for more details: https://www.facebook.com/loom.ensemble
Choosing a highlight for this attendee is as difficult as choosing a favorite vacation spot or dessert, however, the war scene is a tremendous climax. The show picks up momentum with each scene culminating in a fabulously choreographed battle between the gods. Energy and talent, humor and grit are teeming. An explosion of acrobatics and drama creates a unique, smart spectacle and intelligent exhibition.
Just as powerful, especially due to the contrast of the aforementioned war scene, is the very moving, serene closing scene. It is rich with originality and creativity. Simply put, it is inspired.
Of the circus arts and acrobatic feats, it is truly a disservice to choose one as a highlight, thus making “Loom Ensemble” a brilliant and apt name for this interlaced team of well-rounded, extremely talented performers.
Loom Ensemble is an interdisciplinary theater company that weaves together equal parts music, movement and text to tell their stories. Their shows are resultant of a collaborative effort of all its members, which, “We find both exhilarating and painful”. Loom is based in Dubai, New York where they also offer theatre making workshops.
Loom Ensemble plans to take this show on the road while also teaching high school and college age students via their traveling Mini-Circus Academy. You can support this goal financially at Indiegogo.com, an online fundraising campaign.
By Suzzanne Graham Paire