November 24, 2013

Theatre Flamenco ~ Con Nombre y Apellido Pt. 2

            photo by Styrous®

This is the second of two articles (link to first one below) about the Theatre Flamenco production of Con Nombre y Apellido. I had an opportunity to see it for the second time last night. This time it was presented at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

 photo by Styrous®

The technicals (lighting, sound, staging, etc.) were superb and the stage was cavernous in comparison to the previous performance I'd attended at the Southside Theater at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

setting up the stage
photo by Styrous®

So as not to spoil the impact for those who intended to go to this evening's performance, I did not go into a description of the show in my last article on this wonderful new experience. As it is over, I will do so now.

The program was presented without intermission, but there were three definite and different sections to it. 

program notes
photo by Styrous®

The first section, Con Nombre y Apellido (Name and Surname), started in a blackout. The three dancers, Carola Zertuche, Cristina Hall and Marien Luevano, entered in turns holding small lights as they would castinets. They used traditional flamenco hand movements; the effect of which was their bodies were illuminated as the lights in their hands played over them. There was a partial scrim behind them and as they danced, words and sentences were projected on it. As the scrim was semi-transparent, the shadow of the words fell on the rear wall and gave them a three-dimensional effect that made them even more pronounced. The dancing was accompanied by the computer electronics of Fermin Martinez, and some pretty psychedelic work by both José Luis Rodríguez, on guitar, and Sascha Jacobsen, on double-bass. The voice of singer, José Cortes, was softly computer processed by Martinez giving it an other-worldly sound. A great opening for what was to follow.

There was an exciting instrumental interlude with guitar (Rodríguez), double bass (Jacobsen) and vocal (Cortes) creating a very intriguing and creative trio; then, the dancers returned to begin the second section.

The second section, Viajando a las Raices de me cuerpo (Traveling to the roots of my body), was, more or less, traditional flamenco; traditional but with exciting post-modern touches. The floor had 'hot' spots that picked up the sound of the dancers steps on the stage and sent them to Martinez' computer which processed them; this added another dimension to the sound of the dancing feet. A great effect! The three dancers were dressed in black dresses, carried fiery-red fans and executed some terrific fan work!

There was a break during which the singer (Cortes) and guitarist (Rodríguez) performed a blood-pumping duet.

The dancers reentered the stage, this time dressed in long skirts and tailored white shirts. They performed with Zertuche on castanets and Hall and Luevano on finger cymbals, very exciting, traditional flamenco at its best.

After the dancers left, the musicians, Rodríguez (guitar), Jacobsen (double bass) and Cortes (voice) took solo turns at some marvelous music playing. Jacobsen did some incredible things on his bass that would have done justice to any jazz or modern music performance.

The dancers returned in raje de flamenca (black dresses with long, trailing ruffles). They wore huge, white shawls and the dancing was furious, fun and exciting. The footwork with the ruffles was spellbinding. They were accompanied by double bass (Jacobsen) and vocal (Cortes) with distorted, jagged projections of the dancers against the rear wall. They stepped out of the ruffle part of the dresses at one point then the dancing REALLY got hot.

photographer unknown

The third and last section, Mi tiempo presente mi cuerpo en Movimiento (My present time my body in Motion), began with what sounded like static then a beat slowly developed setting the heavy, primal feel of the music which went on to get VERY trippy. The dancers, entered again, this time dressed in RED (I mean RED) dresses. This was the most experimental part of the performance and it was fantastic! The dancers interacted in a narritive I really didn't understand but I didn't care because it was brilliantly non-traditional flamenco; out-of-this-world experimental theater at its very best. It was a thrilling experience!

I learned that the Southside Theater at Fort Mason had lacked proper sound, lighting and staging facilities, so Zertuche had to cannibalize her studio for equipment and did some pretty cleaver make-do for the set for the performance there; it did make for some really creative improvisation. The performance at the Center had a clean and slick look to it. But though the Center may have had the technical facilities that were lacking at the Southside, I think I liked the Southside performance better as it had an intimate, raw and impromptu feeling which added to the excitement. 
theater program
photo by Styrous®

theater program detail
detail photo by Styrous®

backstage shots

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

Ricardo Rubio and Pattyann (la iluminadora)
photo by Styrous®

Carola Zertuche - Artistic Director/Choreographer/Dancer
Ricardo Rubio - co-Artistic director/set Design
José Luis Rodríguez  - music Director/Guitarist
José Cortes - singer
Sascha Jacobsen - bassist
Fermin Martinez- Sound Design and Mutimedia
Cristina Hall and Marien Luevan - Dancers/Choreographers
Pattyann - Lighting

Theatre Flamenco
150 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone & Fax: (415) 826-1305

Links to:

Theatre Flamenco performances
 ~  on YouTube 
 ~  on Vimeo

Ricardo Rubio performances
 ~  on YouTube  

Carola Zertuche performances
 ~    on YouTube

Cristina Hall performances
~  on YouTube

Marien Luevan performances
 ~  on YouTube
 ~  Migration  - Vancouver International Flamenco Festival
 ~  Yo "La Morris" on Vimeo

Ricardo Rubio and Fermin Martinez performances
 ~ on YouTube
 ~  Egiptanos on YouTube

Ricardo Rubio blog (en español)  

Thanks for two beautiful evenings.

Styrous® ~ November 24, 2013



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