Uncivil Wars: Moving with Brecht & Eisler

In David Gordon's reincarnation of Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler's musical play, Roundheads and Pointheads, everything moves. The minimalist set of scaffolding, ladders, and folding chairs swirls around, manipulated by eight actor-dancers from Gordon's New York-based Pick Up Performance Co(S.) augmented by a bevy of local performers. In the original play, an unctuous politician offsets a deficit by creating a civil war that sets half the country (Roundheads) against the other half (Pointheads) by convincing one group that the other are illegal aliens. Gordon puts even more barbs into Brecht's prescient political references. Working off of a translation by Michael Feingold, he brings in everything from Bush's War on Terror to the HUAC trials where Brecht and Eisler took the hot seat. Those two become characters in Gordon's production, played by the luminous Valda Setterfield and pianist-composer Gina Leishman of Kamikaze Ground Crew. Multitasker Gordon (director-writer-choreographer) may be channeling Brecht perfectly, finding the combination of objectivity and pathos that makes Brecht tick, wearing his heart on his sleeve even as his tongue wedges firmly into cheek. One of the founding members of the Judson Dance Theater in the 1960s, he's continued to provoke, challenge, and entertain audiences for more than four decades.
March 12-14, 8 p.m., 2009
 
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