Prism Movement Theater’s weightless, defiant Everything will Be Fine
by Christopher Soden | SharpCritic
Trust Prism Movement Theatre to have the vision and eclat to cook up an ingenious show like Everything Will Be Fine, in the midst of a pandemic. Conceived to function effectively outdoors in a drive-in setting (stay in your car and crank the radio) Everything considers living through a cultural crisis, with no definite end in sight. It opens with two young lovers writing their wedding vows. What follows is a series of events that reflect on the sublime and catastrophic. The painful and resourceful. Prism might have done this differently. Ignoring, for instance the virulent plague that makes precautions crucial. But no, the performers wear their masks, and strangely enough, we nearly forget they have them on.
Prism has a splendid, marvelous history of creating narrative through breathless, vivid motion. The bodies of the dancers stir the space they occupy, brimming with luminous, jazzy energy. I expect they describe their aim as movement to suggest something less formal than dance. In Persephone and a later piece that explored the romance between Medea and Jason before they fled the island of Colchis; there was inventiveness, a genius for amplifying ordinary objects or throwing shadows or animating the static. Speaking as but a troglodyte (when it comes to articulating the experience of dance) I was swoony and agog as they cultivated a canny, giddy sense of wonder. The spontaneity and weightlessness they summoned as if calling upon water nymphs and spirits of air.
Prism, certainly, did all they could to enhance this outdoor show, guiding us into our parking spaces and handing out swag bags with sanitizer, sidewalk chalk, lip balm and programs, et al. The cast (Kelsey Milbourn, Mitchell Stephens, Ania Lyons, Rai K. Barnard, Kwame Lilly, Lauren Floyd, Rico Kartea) emerged from a circle of cars, and headlights served to deepen and complicate the action. There was intimacy and revelry and grief. There was nonsense and danger. How can these limber, avian creatures flirt so flagrantly with gravitational pull? The title: Everything Will Be Fine is both naive and disingenuous. The characters keep moving forward, despite tragedy, but the loftier wisdom seems to suggest that our lives are profound grace, even when we must deal with loss. The spindle continue to turn, ecstasy mixing with devastation.
I want to express my gratitude to Prism Movement Company, for their grand hospitality and kind accommodation. They went out of their way to make me (and the rest of the audience) feel welcome, in these chaotic, mend-bending times. How difficult it must have been, to rise above our present ordeal, and nurture our famished souls with intelligent, overwhelming, defiant moxie.