Maxine Moerman Dancetheatre and Alma Esperanza Cunningham and Dancers Double Header Project
Dance Mission Theater
San Francisco, California
May 21, 2004

...Granted that I saw the quite lengthy Djuna at the end of a long, dance-filled evening, in retrospect I am still not sure whether Moerman's dreamy, loosely sequenced episodes accumulate into the kind of emotional logic that she probably envisioned. The program doesn't say so, but the title Djuna and some of the text used suggest that the work is a response to the stream of consciousness novel "Nightwood'' by experimental writer and poet Djuna Barnes who re-emerged after her death of course as something of a cult figure in the 80s.

In that case, Merlin Coleman, an extraordinarily talented singer, diseuse and composer of the score, who was clad in a diaphanous blue gown, might have functioned as the writer's fictionalized stand in. Coleman's vocal ability even stole the show from the porcelain doe that was lovingly carried or pulled across the stage by one dancer and another. The excellent lighting was by Max, costumes for the dancers ruffled, feminine blouses and pants by Lisa Claybaugh and Meagan Nicely. This is another work that bears another viewing....

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Originally published:
Volume 2, Number 19
24 May 2004 Copyright 2004 by Rita Felciano