Shadowland follows the young girl, played to perfection by Heather Jeane Favretto, on a surreal journey, exposing her fears and pleasures, leaving her forever changed. A true collaborative adventure, the show is the product of the inventive minds of Steven Banks, Robby Barnett, Renée Jaworski, Matt Kent, Itamar Kubovy and Michael Tracy along with input from the original cast members. This resulted in some inevitable unevenness of style and a few too sudden changes in mood, but the mind-boggling complexity of the choreography and stagecraft (including superb lighting by Neil Peter Jampolis, constantly morphing sets by Neil Patel and very sexy costumes by Liz Prince) plus the witty presentation of the wandering storyline, makes for an overwhelming theatrical experience.
We first see the girl in her very happy home being put to bed, a bed that is really three male dancers. As she falls asleep she is lifted and the walls of her bedroom rotate and her dreamy adventure begins.
The title tells it all. Most of the action is in the form of shadows on various mobile screens. This allows for all sorts of surreal images in which the dancers turn themselves into centaurs, octopuses, trees, taxi cabs, and all the various demons that haunt the poor young lady. She is pursued continually by dragons, food, oddball characters and a huge arm which reaches down and decapitates the girl, replacing her cranium with a dog’s head, leading her to become an exhibit in a carnival freak show from which she escapes, has many adventures, thrilling and romantic, meets the above-mentioned centaur, and is finally is restored to complete female-humanhood.
The score consisted of music by David Poe including songs, droning sounds and some sound effects creating an exacting and effective aural ambiance.
The other amazing dancer/actor/acrobats were Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, Antoine Banks-Sullivan, Krystal Butler, Benjamin Coalter, Jordan Kriston, Derion Loman, Sayer Mansfield and Mike Tyus. Their skill and beauty provide the brilliance and the backbone of Shadowland.
Pilobolus’ Shadowland (through December 6, 2015)
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Place, between West 3rd Street and Washington Square South (West 4th Street), in Manhattan
For tickets, call 212-998-4941 or visit http://www.nyuskirball.org
For more information, visit http://www.pilobolus.org
Running time: 80 minutes with no intermission