Review by: Steven Spriensma
Here is at its best when the director and choreographer take the play into visually daring territory. The use of audio-visuals and the dance scenes (choreographed by Nocturne’s Cassandra Bowerman) are wonderful, and the story weaves in and out of the plotlines effortlessly and with real creative energy. It’s a play that falls squarely into the ‘living and dying for your art’ tradition of dance stories, though it’s more The Red Shoes than Black Swan in that regard- it succeeds in being both creative and staying grounded.
Unfortunately, Here suffers from having a cast of incredibly unlikeable characters. There’s no doubt that the actors are exceedingly talented, and when they’re in the zone they get at some truly human moments; it’s just the audience is left wondering why we have to care about them. Main character Emily is justifiably a sad case but her constant off-the-cuff sarcasm can wear you down, she befriends her roommate’s stalker under dubious circumstances, and the roommate herself does strange and incredibly hurtful things to Emily without any real consequence. These are, to put it bluntly, not nice people who do terrible things with little-to-no motivation of which to speak.
But there are many bright spots, and the actors know what they’re doing; Jacqueline Byers plays her main character’s despair well, and Gregory Solomons does show real comedic spark that does occasionally lift the dourness, even if he’s in an unsympathetic role. The more grounded moments of the play may bring back not-so-fond memories of student living, from struggling to make it just to prove you can to the irrationality and drama of moving through cliques. But the real interest here is in how it’s done, not why