There’s something Dolo and I talk about fairly often: how long did it take you this morning to become bipedal? Dolo’s excuse is usually better than mine. She dances eight hours a day, while I have an ill-fated love affair with platform heels. Our work, however, has frequently turned back to this question of decadence and its consequences. Sometimes it feels like we get all dressed up only to stick our heads in a toilet—or is it, stick our heads in the sand?
Dolo and Arob fight through “Madam and Evening” the way one fights their way out of a nightmare: they try to shoo away the baddies with grand gestures that quickly exhaust themselves and falter into minute, impotent mimes of what it would be like to truly exist in their surroundings (which include onion and saran wrap curtains, a few rubber toy pigs, a hairdryer and beta fish hung from the ceiling in not-your-average fishbowls). Arob beckons and questions, to no avail, phantoms that go unseen by the audience; Dolo collapses gently to the floor over and over again. Then they put Louis Armstrong on the record player, a lampshade on the head, and partner-dance, indulging in a moment of decadent unreality. This cycle of unnerved-strife-followed-by-slaphappy-moonraking continues throughout the piece as Dolo and Arob try every available prop and every motion to make sense of the strange world in which they’ve found themselves.
Dolo’s dancing is remarkable for any number of reasons, but the best part, the subversion, is in her face. She’ll engage the ballerina lobotomy-face only to twitch suddenly into an expression of deep anguish, or comic lust, or dumb curiosity. Not only is she flouting dance protocol, which commonly demands anonymity from the neck up, but she’s also working herself into a panic over a situation she might easily resign to enjoying. It’s something we could all stand to do more often, and it’s why her breaking out of the “CC bubble” to perform at the Fine Arts Center is more than just geographically unusual. She’ll kick, she’ll scream, she’ll bathe in milk. Let yourself get uncomfortable.