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Fertile Ground Dairies: In “Last Dance,” Angels Experience What It’s Like To Be Human

Part theater, part dance, the show explores humanness in a way that only non-humans could express.

A dimly lit, stark apartment greets viewers of Last Dance. It feels familiar, in a sad sort of way, like that cheap futon you see in the corner that you've kept for too long.

Anne (Jaime Lee Christiana) is familiar, too. With an Ann Taylor style pantsuit and pained eyes, you can assume the work she's just returned from is joyless. That pain becomes even more obvious as she eventually drags a blade lengthwise from wrist to forearm.

An oscillating orb, projected against a screen at the back of the theater, tells us something otherworldly is happening. When Anne eventually rises, she's wobbly on her feet, yet smiling. This is not the same Anne.

The angel Zephon has taken residence in Anne's body. The sprightly, winged Layla (Kat Macmillan) joins her on stage as a more recognizable version of an angel, though her earthy palette and smoky makeup is more hipster-Tinkerbelle than Christmas-tree topper.

For the next hour, Zephon and Layla explore humanness in a way that only alien outsiders can express. Our usually subtle limits and depths of joy are cracked open and questioned by these beings of heavenly origin. At once envious and confounded by the tragedy of an ordinary, mortal life, the angels explore the strange nuances of what it is to be human.

Macmillan moves and dances in a way that seems stuck between Heaven and Earth. She's ethereal, and also a little awkward. Both Christiana and Macmillan strike a beautiful balance between searing seriousness and comical relatability.

Playwright Sky Yeager isn't afraid to ask big questions. The play insists on the existence of God, but those who connect to spirituality in any form will relate to the doubt and struggle the angels experience on Earth, and their strained relationship with the booming voice from above.

After all, it's oddly comforting to know that even an angel can laugh at the absurdity of life, and question God's motives in all this pain.