A Tarot deck of dances? Doug Varone's Chapters from a Broken Novel, tonight at NC State | Arts | Indy Week
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Tarot deck of dances? Doug Varone's Chapters from a Broken Novel, tonight at NC State

Posted by on Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM

from Doug Varones Chapters from a Broken Novel
  • from Doug Varone's "Chapters from a Broken Novel"
A person who sits for a conventional tarot reading knows several things. If that Rider-Waite deck hasn’t changed in the century since it was crafted, the archetypes depicted in its major arcana have basically been fixed for a half-millennium. No one snuck a card in last week depicting your favorite uncle or your most detested boss; a photo of your first love, your first car, or your first beer isn’t going to dramatically appear face up as the cards are dealt.

And yet. A finite cast of characters and symbols set on 78 pieces of paper have the potential to tell somewhere north of 1 trillion different stories, depending on how you lay them down. While the concepts on those cards have been set for some time now, when you change their order and juxtaposition, something happens: the message in them changes as well.

Choreographer DOUG VARONE has no deck of cards on stage tonight at Stewart Theater. He does have 22 short dances, which he’s been arranging and rearranging since he finished creating them last summer at the Bates Dance Festival in Maine. The collection's name is CHAPTERS FROM A BROKEN NOVEL. But as Varone has worked with the dances in the months since, he's found that every time he alters the order of the "chapters" in the work, new — and sometimes radically different — stories emerge.

"What's fascinating is that, by shifting where a chapter fits in the unfolding of events, the dramaturgy becomes completely different," he noted when we spoke last week. "When you see someone who’s been involved in a duet later in a solo—if you reverse them, the information is different.”

“That’s been the great journey in this piece, figuring out these different configurations and how they affect an audience. One thing I’ve found is that…I never lose.” Varone laughs. “No matter the order I put them in, there’s always potency.”

In some settings, his company performs all of the sections in an evening-length work; here, they’ll display an arrangement of 13 or 14 in a program with LUX, a piece regional audiences saw at the American Dance Festival in 2008. (After their show in Raleigh, Varone's company willl present a briefer grouping of solos and duets from the collection during performances in Asheville on Feb. 9-10.)

The literary reference in the title should come as little surprise for a choreographer long renowned for placing sharply-crafted characters and theatrically resonant interpersonal narratives on stage—without his performers ever saying a single word. True, some of Varone’s works, like Lux, are abstract explorations of velocity, arc and kinetic bliss. But when he takes up people’s stories, his work is easily comparable to that of Raymond Carver and Joyce Carol Oates. Small wonder I’ve previously referred to Varone as one of my favorite short story writers—who’s simply working in a different medium.

With evocative chapter titles like “Spilling the Contents,” “The Ghosts of Insects,” “Playing in the Shadows,” “Glass” and “Egalite,”—and only several hundred million permutations possible among them—Varone could be mining this particular vein of inspiration for some time to come.

Behind-the-scenes videos describing the creation of two chapters, “Ron Tells the Truth,” and “The Ghosts of Insects,” are on Varone’s company website. Further video excerpts from the work are here.

Showtime's 8 p.m. tonight at Stewart Theater; tickets are available at (919) 515-1100.

Tags: , , , ,

Pin It

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Thanks RobU. This review ran online only.

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

Great review! Since it was out in previous paper, how do we get this in print? Possible to order it?

by RobU on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

This show is dreadful. I watched clips of the London production which lacked the wonderful sets in the Australian production. …

by mrappleby on Love never dies, but many terrible musicals have: Sitting through Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom sequel. (Arts)

Awesome summation of the beauty and skill surrounding this tap festival! Great Job Dan!
Annabel's mom💕 …

by Dcable on Dance Review: Tap Genius Michelle Dorrance Brings It Home at the NC Rhythm Tap Festival (Arts)

Comments

Thanks RobU. This review ran online only.

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

Great review! Since it was out in previous paper, how do we get this in print? Possible to order it?

by RobU on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation