It's rare that this particular reviewer is often moved to hyperbole—the language of flattery is taxed to the point of simple meaninglessness—but it's worth saying: Home Made is perhaps the single most powerful performance piece to have come out of Portland in recent memory
, and also maybe the first case in which the occasionally self-defeating ambition of the Teeth dance project
(or they write it, "tEEth") has fully, fruitfully, squared with delivery.
Those looking for technical dance mastery are likely to be disappointed, but they would also be missing the point. Home Made is a piece of mostly sloppy intimacy and discomfort.
Its force comes not from mastery or control (though the players retained stunning detachment), but from the deeply personal, mostly improvisational, and often violent interactions of its two dancers, Keely McIntyre and Noel Plemmons
. By the end of the one hour piece, I was left spent and shaky with spent adrenaline, feeling all too implicated.
The piece begins touchingly as a self-shot, projected home video of the two dancers in pre- or post coital bliss, with their real-life figures visible only as eruptions beneath a sheet of thick fabric. Their movie could be called homemade only if home is a thin, all too fragile scrim between interior and exterior. What follows upon their emergence from this scrim is a first intimate, then violent series of desperate and mostly failed connection, mirrorings of body and gesture, wild attempts at consummation that turn to anger, violence, emotion tried on as if a Halloween masks: which is to say, every relationship I've ever had. The dancers conform mouth to chin and chest and foot in frantic attempts to make body fit to body, as each attempt is deformed by need. Most of the performance is done in the nude, and is almost an unwitting confirmation of the mid-70s feminist notion that nudity—and therefore also vulnerability—is a recipe for violence.
Still, Home Made
is less interested in showing the difficulties of human connection than its complications, hypocrisies, and especially its ecstasies and comforts. The piece's constant disjunctions and re-arrangements eventually build to a fundamental optimism: that violence and failure are fundamental to love, not its opposite. Surprise, in this case, comes as gently as an indrawn breath, though in practice it might as well be the start of a fight.
Home Made at The Mouth, Inside Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont St. 8 pm Friday, 2 and 8 pm Saturday, 7 pm Sunday, Nov. 12-14. $12-$15.