Mouawad’s latest hourlong experiment in the series of narrative movement pieces he calls “theater without words” takes as its inspiration the classic heist flick. It begins with a gambler (performed with Gene Hackman-ish flair by dancer Gregg Bielemeier) losing piles of cash in a tragic poker match, much to the distress of his wife.
To make up for his losses, he and his black-clad crew set out to steal some unspecified treasure, sneaking along corridors, skulking in elevators, dodging mysterious pools of radioactivity, blowing a safe and negotiating an Entrapment-style laser field.
The story doesn’t make a lot of sense, for reasons revealed in a very clever twist that I don’t care to reveal, but the company’s typically creative way with lights, music and sound lends a strong impression of place to the adventure.
Bielemeier is, as always, a blast to watch. He stands rail straight, chin up, and his limbs seem to sneak around of their own accord, as if his torso were a passive passenger. But Mouawad hasn’t created enough variety of movement to hold audience attention through the middle section of the show. For a good 15 minutes, the action seems repetitive. Maybe this is part of the project, making hay out of monotony. I don’t know. I enjoyed Zugzwang, but found it to be less engaging (if more comprehensible) than Mouawad’s last movement experiment, Stage Left Lost. Nonetheless, it’s a treat to watch a director performing the sort of public experiment that we for the most part, thanks to budgetary constraints, never get to see.
SEE IT: Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., 231-3959. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays through Oct. 22. $10-$16.