Carolyn Carlson: Double Vision
Carolyn Carlson Company — CCN Roubaix Electronic Shadow

Alexander Kasser Theater
Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey
October 14–17, 2010

   Scenes from Double Vision ~ Click arrow to begin.

A Review

This is a duet between dancer and décor.

  • The Atmosphere—New-Age Dante
  • The Staging—New-Age Nikolais
  • The Choreography—New-Age Graham
  • The Motion—New-Age Louis

I guess that sums it up. We all are products of all that goes before us, and as I felt the stage breathe around Caroline, I knew the nether worlds of Dante. And as the saga progressed I was guided, in dream-like mode, through his many layers of hereafter venture.

Although I did not think “Nikolais” at the time of viewing as I had Dante, I saw Carolyn’s aesthetic heritage throughout the staging. How Nik would have reveled in the technology she has at her command! Although much of it is old hat, such as billowing cloth, lowering panels, and multiple stage levels, it was the projections of motion pictures that tied it to now. And the projections took us from the constructivism of the façade of the Pompidou Center through vistas of glory—up stairways and down ice floes—and led us to nearly everywhere on Earth and in Heaven.

From the first image of Carolyn lying in the billows of diaphanous fabric though her frenetic walks to her gesturing to panels and her constant go-go-go, I could see Martha in the 1940s dancing on these same pathways.

And the reiterative motion: Anyone who has seen Louis’s Chimera will recall the genre of motion employed. The flickering motion of the fist, the sudden dismissal of one theme to the frenetic pursuit of another, and the piling of one image upon the other are all hallmarks of Murray’s that Carolyn used so well. Overall, I do not see in this work the mountains of Utah from whence Carolyn embarked but rather her busy boulevards, close alleys, and unpeopled gardens of Paris. I see a stranger finding oneself there and experiencing it all.

—Ruth Grauert