"Thrilling…Ideas about God dwelling in nature, freedom and discipline, health in mind and body, communal living, and rigor nurtured her creative process…The beginning of Fruitlands sets the tone of austerity and lushness, wildness and control, attended by the possibility of rapture. As they rush here and there, Koo's terrific costumes turn them into a veritable storm of black clouds…[The dancers] perform with powerful conviction... Through them, images of nature's vagaries, liberty, spiritual vision, hard labor, and sisterhood come to life within the white brick confines of the narrow loft…Close to them as we are, we feel their efforts and their ardor when they explode into running and leaping. When they roll on the ground and lash their bodies extravagantly around, their loose hair fans out and sticks on their increasingly wet faces... The dance as I saw it, without prior reading, enthralled me. I sensed rich thinking underneath it at every moment." —Deborah Jowitt, dancebeat.org
Fruitlands draws from Workum's interest in the American Transcendentalists, particularly Bronson Alcott, his failed commune Fruitlands, his daughter Louisa May Alcott and her great work, Little Women. The Transcendentalists posed many questions which were considered radical for the 19th century: How do we live freely? Where is God? How do we hold more and allow more in? Bronson was a great thinker and idealist, but his family suffered under his many misguided pursuits; while Louisa, a great, sharp mind and among the most forward thinking philosophers of her time, was restricted as a woman. How was she able to she succeed? How free are her Little Women? How did her great brain live within her own societal container? How does one sculpt a full and open life?
Fruitlands was a commission from The Chocolate Factory for the 2011-2012 season. One hour.
Performed by: Molly Lieber, Marilyn Maywald, Weena Pauly, Katy Pyle
Original sound by Jonathan Pratt
Costumes by Bonkuk Koo
Lighting by Carrie Wood
Performed at The Chocolate Factory, April 2012