By odd coincidence, Remainder l Northside
was the second evening-length show I’ve seen this year that was based on in-depth interaction with everyday North Siders. But while City of Asylum’s fine spoken-word-with-music piece Stoop Is a Verb
dug into cultural specifics about the North Side’s many neighborhoods, Remainder
’s universality was grounded in its origins in local classrooms and children’s workshops.
Photo courtesy of Craig Thompson
Attack Theatre promo shot
Attack’s dancers and artistic directors conducted those sessions over 18 months, in schools and programs like the Manchester Youth Development Center, the Pittsburgh Project and Pittsburgh Schiller STEAM Academy. The troupe emerged at the New Hazlett Theater this past weekend with three performances of a program of athletic yet elegant dance that reflected children’s world of imagination and sometimes (in the context of school) enforced regimentation.
The work (I went on Saturday night) was danced by Kaitlin Dann, Dane Toney, Anthony Williams and Ashley Williams, with contributions from Michele de la Reza, who co-choreographed with the dancers and Peter Kope. Their work was aided immeasurably by another Attack
calling card, original live music. Multi-instrumentalists and composers Dave Eggar, Chuck Palmer and Domenica Fossati supplied the sonic muscle and nuance, and at times even playfully joined in the dance themselves.
Highlights included a comic group sequence built around a magical treasure chest. A pre-show orientation had introduced some of the gestural language the dancers had gleaned from listening to and working with students (as in the ubiquitous action of packing and zipping one’s book bag, or the mannerisms of a mean teacher).
The scenes and people depicted could have been from anywhere, but it still felt worthwhile to stage it in a theater within a mile or so of the sources of its inspiration.