SHINKA by Ren Gyo Soh @ Planet Connections – The Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street, NYC Reviewed by Mia Moreta
“SHINKA” explores mankind and how we stumbled upon becoming society. According to DC Metro Theater Arts “The post-World War II Japanese dance theatre form, Butoh, is traditionally performed in white body make-up.” Slow movements, tension and spiritual feelings fill the air, traditional Japanese music playing in the background, and the sounds coming from the dancers themselves.
This type of spectacle needs a top-notch crew. Happily they had it in costume design by Deepsikha Chatterjee, lighting design by Robin Dill (assisted by Rui Duri), sound design by Ren Gyo Soh, with direction and choreography by Yoshiko Usami. Bob Lyness is co-producer. Dancers were Miles Butler, Jennifer Marinelli, Efrén Sánchez, Annie McCoy, Dustin Maxwell, and Yokko. The setting takes place in New York and the wild – you decided which was which.
This play was something I really haven’t seen before. Innovative! The whole concept of acting with movements and the actors using their bodies to convey their feelings and the storyline was beautifully accomplished. The slow, controlled dancing and movements coupled with the fascinating music with a dash of New York City sounds and wildlife forest sounds was quite impressive. I thought the lighting added even more flavor and “coolness.” The use of color variation was a wise choice. The beginning was sort of demonic juxtaposing street rubbish was inspired and quite interesting to watch. The animal behavior concept gave a nod to prehistoric times but somehow showed a modern side.
That seemed to be SHINKA in a nutshell: the broken line of where we came from … and where we’re going.