Scarlett Johansson. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The girl is pretty good. Her southern accent came out with a hint of Amy Winehouse, but given her character Maggie’s circumstances – stuck with an alcoholic husband in a society of southern charm and judgement – it sort of makes sense. Johansson performed with committed vitality despite battling for chemistry with her co-star husband. The script relies on Maggie to drive the thrust of the dialogue and Johansson pounced, purred, and clawed her way through. I liked her better on stage than on screen, for what it’s worth.
Paul Taylor. Opening night gala performance. Junction, 3 Epitaphs, Perpetual Dawn (World Premiere), & Offenbach Overtures. His dancers swept across the stage, indulged in a few Graham-ian contractions, and hammed it up.
Junction – the dancers appear in color-blocked leotards and tights led by Sean Mahoney. Taylor has some of everything going in this work from his sweeping phrases of movement to quirky kicks to sculptural balancing acts.
3 Epitaphs – Taylor’s dancers become sandmen in grey, full-body unitards, their hands and heads adorned with small round mirrors. They playfully challenge each other, although always succumbing to a slump of the body as they seem to grasp the reality of their situation before running off.
Perpetual Dawn – Taylor celebrates midwestern Americana. Taylor’s dancers fill the fleeting moment of light breaking with their revelry. Couples joyously find each other and take time to revisit old friendships.
Offenbach Overtures – the coworker who gave me the ticket said this is his favorite Taylor piece. It is saucy, silly, and stunning. Taylor’s dancers are in red and black, the men with cartoonish mustaches and hats, the women in tight bodices and fishnets. They flit and flirt about, a combination of can-can vaudevillian dancing with the off-balance leanings of modern dance. Two gentlemen and their underlings take part in a laughable face-off that leaves all involved confused and suddenly friends.
Taylor’s sense of humor is that he just doesn’t care. The silly duel of Offenbach starts so smarmily – but you know what, that’s a classic case of testosterone if I’ve ever seen one. Capitol Hill sequester, anyone?
Taylor, at 82, joined his dancers for the final curtain call. As he ushered his dancers forward for their last bow, he beamed.