- Sara Pickett
BRINE Dance: Disembodied We
In a way that only dance can, Disembodied We examines challenges posed by the modern world. For this production, BRINE—a Salt Lake City dance collective that nurtures artistic opportunities for choreographers, dancers and designers—uses art to enlighten its audience with seven original works.
Consequently, Ashley Creek's A.D. Part Two: Terra (a sequel of sorts to an earlier piece) relates to responsibility. Monica Campbell's Passage becomes a rumination about the ability to leave the past behind. Gaslighting Blatherskites, as imagined by Alicia Trump, dissects the art of the argument and the ways that words can misrepresent real meaning.
Gina Terrell's Kwashiorkor looks at the modern epidemic of malnutrition, and encourages audiences to help end it. Symmer Andrews' Fragmented examines alienation and the isolation that separates individuals from each other. University of Utah School of Dance faculty member Sara Pickett's What Breaks Us delves into the divide between compassion and conforming and how it impacts on our humanity, while LajaMartin allows Lucy (Part I) to imagine what life was like at its inception.
"I feel that each piece plays a part in conveying questions about society, culture, community relationships and how we act overall as humans," Ashley Creek says. "Are we taking care of ourselves? Who are we as a species? Where do our actions take us? How do we treat our fellow humans? I encourage our audience members to treat our show as a choose-your-own-adventure novel." (Lee Zimmerman)
BRINE Dance: Disembodied We @ Leona Wagner BlackBox Theater, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Oct. 12, 6 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m., $12-$18, brinedance.com
- dav.d photography
Salt Lake Acting Co.: Mercury
Anyone who saw Steve Yockey's Blackberry Winter—a poignant drama about a woman becoming caregiver to a mother with dementia—at Salt Lake Acting Co. last season might have a sense for what to expect from his new play, Mercury. But director Shannon Musgrave learned first-hand at a 2015 theater festival that he's not so easy to pin down.
"He had this 10-minute play [at the festival]," Musgrave says, "and I was floored that he had written this and also Blackberry. Getting to know more of his work since then, dark theatrical comedy is more of his style, and Blackberry Winter more of the outlier."
While Musgrave prefers not to reveal too many specifics about the plot in order to preserve surprises, she notes that Mercury is particularly appropriate for the season, in that "it really delves into the horror genre: scary, dark and bloody. It's really exciting to see that kind of work live, happening right in front of you." The production's fantastical elements are also proving to be an intriguing logistical challenge, especially for a venue like SLAC that lacks some conventional off-stage spaces. "There are a lot of things on the page that were just like, 'OK, how is that going to happen?'" she says.
There's also an element of social satire at work, described in a press release as about "missing empathy." "It really is this modern myth about what happens when we lose our ability to walk in another person's shoes," Musgrave says. "We have to deal with each other, talk to each other and have a little humanity." (Scott Renshaw)
Mercury @ Salt Lake Acting Co., 168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, Oct. 11-Nov. 12, dates and times vary, $37-$44, saltlakeactingcompany.org
- Alex Ungerman
Shockheaded Peter: A Gruesome Cabaret
For lovers of campy, macabre entertainment, there is no better time of the year than the Halloween season. For lovers of grisly and delightfully ridiculous humor looking to expand beyondThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sackerson Theater Co. delivers the truly gruesome, dark comedic musicalShockheaded Peter.
Based on an 1845 German children's book—full of tales of naughty children facing gruesome and sometimes fatal punishments for behavior like sucking their thumbs—Shockheaded Peter ups the stakes by having each child die to a jaunty tune for their misbehavior. Alex Ungerman, producer and co-director of the show, says he and Dave Mortensen chose this for their Halloween offering because it's an internationally acclaimed show unlike anything else being performed in Utah this season. "It's really dark and delightful," Ungerman says. "You'll best enjoy it if you grab a drink before the show, and probably one after."
It also lends itself well to a shoestring budget, Ungerman says, and a do-it-yourself grit that fits into Sackerson's mission "to work in unconventional spaces with new works for bold audiences." With a cast of nine (four of whom are the band) set in a space that the cast and crew have transformed into an intimate cabaret-style theater, this production delivers on that promise. Sackerson also puts their own spin on the tale, favoring the physicality of their actors over the puppetry often used to portray the doomed children. (Kylee Ehmann)
Shockheaded Peter: A Gruesome Cabaret @ The Art Factory, 211 W. 2100 South,801-613-0582, Oct. 13-14 & Oct. 20-21, 8 p.m., $17-$23, sackerson.org
- Christie Marcy
MOTUS After Dark
There are many different kinds of live music you might expect to see at a nightclub. But classical symphonic probably isn't one of them.
That's only part of what makes the MOTUS After Dark event at SKY—offered in collaboration with Salt Lake City-based creative support group 3 Irons—such a unique experience. MOTUS stands for "Musicians of the Utah Symphony," and that's exactly who you'll find performing: talented musicians like principal flutist Mercedes Smith, associate principal cellist Matthew Johnson, keyboardist Jason Hardink and new concertmaster Madeline Adkins. And that's not taking into account other "surprise" performances by Utah Symphony members that will pop up throughout the venue over the course of the evening.
This evening's program is scheduled to feature visiting artist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who will serve as violin soloist for Ravel's Tzigane and vocal soloist for Arnold Schoeberg's operatic Pierrot Lunaire. Plus, just to class up the evening even more, Utah Symphony maestro Thierry Fischer will conduct the performance.
According to violist Joel Biggs in a press release statement, "Kopatchinskaja is a fearless, electrifying artist. Her MOTUS performance at SKY SLC with Thierry and some of our most charismaticmusicians will be unforgettable." Guests can enjoy custom cocktails with their entertainment, but mostly it's a chance for something that even regular symphony attendees rarely get a chance to experience: an up-close-and-personal evening with great artists, and at a fraction of the cost. After this, it might be hard for other nightclub entertainment to measure up. (Scott Renshaw)
MOTUS After Dark @ Sky, 149 Pierpont Ave., Oct. 18, 8:30 p.m., $10, motusafterdark.com