by Mary Hubbard
The first scene of Dayna Hanson’s new work, Gloria’s Cause was really sort of stunning. On stage two suited men bubbled over with modern neuroses completely oblivious to the wild passionate dance around them of two nude furies. The image with all its possibility was beautifully sculpted.
But it wasn’t long into the show that the thought of Dar Williams popped into my head. If you don’t know her, she is an American singer/songwriter who is also engaged in looking deeply into this messy thing we called humanity.
But it wasn’t that that triggered the connection, nor was it the slight physical resemblance that Dayna and Dar have in common. As I watched the first few scenes evolve, I kept thinking about a particular introduction she gave on her album, Dar Williams, Out There Live to her song, I Won’t Be Your Yoko Ono.
The song had been inspired by her time at Wesleyan University where her “crowd” conspired to outshine each other with their dedication to exhibiting a deep relationship with the avant-garde by being as post-modern and as conceptional as possible in their art making. In the introduction she said, “It was relentless actually. Every moment of your day was spent trying to turn something into something else- to create something out of something.”
That is where I felt I was being lead. Too many ideas, too many streams of artistic expression combining and recombining into a confusing cacophony of images and ideas like some primordial ooze. Where was the promise of that first stirring dance sequence?
I started to edit in my head – trying to create cohesion from what felt like a random sequence of disparate parts. (Of course, I must also entertain the very real possibility that I am just not cool enough to get it.) Why was this included, why was that? Why the faster than the speed of light shift from parody to sentimentality? What am I suppose to get from all of this? And then it happened again. Something crystallized and suddenly I was experiencing the resonance of something meaningful.
I am not educated in the craft so I can’t explain what came together to produce those moments but there were quite a few of them and they were all the more interesting because they seemed to have just suddenly appeared. I applaud the troupe. It is clear that they are all skilled and dedicated to their work. And although the ride was bumpy and uneven for me, it was a worthwhile evening. I would encourage people to come and see for themselves.