This afternoon, my spouse pointed out to me that all of the shows we have seen together thus far have been categorized as “comedy” on the Fringe website. And so, determined to get out of our three-show-old rut, we went to see Standing on the Hollow, by Present State Movement, which is in the wonderfully ambiguous “something different” category. Well, let me tell you, that is an appropriate place to file this two-person show; it incorporates dance, live music, voice, and film/animation to create something that my mother would call “Art with a
capital A”. Julie Johnson plays haunting music with the help of two flutes and a loop station, while Tamara Ober dances and fills the stage with movement. The story, directed by D.J. Mendel, was inspired by three 20th century stories, each written by female authors. The show description doesn’t tell you which stories, and even if it did, you might not know them. I looked up the stories while waiting in line, reading plot summaries on Wikipedia, and my spouse went in blind, so that we could compare. My spouse said ze had vague impressions of the story, but thought it was beautiful and interesting to watch the dancer convey emotions purely through dance; I could pick out the three stories and thought the interpretations were well done. Which of us had the better experience? I don’t know, and so I won’t tell you the three stories, and if you want to see them on the program and look them up before the show, that choice is yours. There is one more show of Standing on the Hollow, and if you enjoy modern dance and storytelling through movement rather than through words, Johnson and Ober do a wonderful, beautiful job of filling the stage with raw emotion. Hearing Ober panting, gasping for air after a flurry of frantic motion is a very visceral experience that leaves the audience feeling particularly connected to the dancer. All that said, if you prefer stories you can follow, and tend to wander out of modern art galleries asking, “But that isn’t art, that’s just scribbling!” this is probably one for you to skip.