A bustling city street. An elaborate costume. A splashy scene from an old film starring swimmer/movie star Esther Williams. All little bits of inspiration for Brazilian-born choreographer Giovanni Luquini, whose full-scale theatrical/dance work Wrong Cluefeatures a cast of eleven including his own dance troupe, members of the Akropolis Acting Company, a rock singer, and a DJ, who will spin tunes ranging from Brazilian avant-garde musician Tom Zé to American big band leader Glenn Miller.
"It's a very urban celebration of the day in which we live," Luquini explains. "We don't have a story line that goes from one point to another. It's as if you are standing on one side of an intersection and just move your eyes around and you can see all the levels and windows and people crossing and doing weird things. A collection of urban activities of the crowd is basically what the performance is. It's very open."
So open, in fact, that Luquini will remove the curtains from the stage, exposing all its technical gadgetry such as lights, wires, and scaffolding. Possibly somewhat jarring for the audience that may be used to a curtain being raised and lowered, but just right for him. "I try to bring in the texture of the streets," he says, sounding less like a choreographer and more like an art or movie director, to which he likens himself. "I try to deconstruct the idea of normal theater and the formal presentation of theater. Everything will be naked, except for the dancers!"
"The work that I do is not straight dance or theater or music," Luquini says. "I put together all the things I need to make my picture clear enough to share with the audience. It's much more than just dance." It all amounts to what the show's promoters call "total experience theater." Luquini notes: "It's the theater as a building, not just a type of performance, but as a temple of art, a celebration of creativity." In fact audience members will have their senses appealed to even before the show starts: In the lobby an informal fashion show featuring the work of designer/textile artist Karelle Levy, who created two of the costumes in the show, will take place.
"I try as much as I can not to play conventionally," Luquini says. "Don't we know that there is nothing that we can create anymore that hasn't already been done? If I can just go after my convictions, [the work], pretty much mine." And ours, perhaps.
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