by Emma Lee
The Director’s note explains the concept of a dansical – “a show with no dialogue and no singing. We wanted to create a show where we would establish concrete characters and story by using movement, video and other staging while focusing on dance.” So….a dance show? Never one to shy away from new forms, I was intrigued. And then immediately disappointed. On the one hand, exactly what was promised was delivered. The story progressed without a word. Instead, all the good ole fashion cheese of music theatre got translated into long looks, overdramatic shoulder pats and the ever popular sympathetic head nod. Not that it is surprising that the ‘acting’ failed, there is barely an acting credit among the cast of 8. Likewise unsuccessful were the solo dances that were inserted at the peak of each character's emotional vulnerability. You know, where the power ballads would be. Instead, cliché movement to canned music succeeded neither in moving the story or the audience. Probably the most problematic of all was the intense sincerity of the piece. Look at your title. A Gay Dansical suggests whimsy, fun, and a glorious gay time not neutral mask, shaky videos and feigned emotions (complete with a video at the end that is a montage of the videos you just saw over the past hour). Not surprising, the most successful moments of the show were the ones that should be danced. There are a few tight group numbers that do exactly what one would expect. They are fun, well executed, and even touching. However it is way too little, way too late.