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Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s Satisfying Tumble Through Life’s Struggles

May. 2, 2017
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At Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s aLL wRoNG, every audience member is handed a playing card on the way in. Aside from a few cell phones, those cards are the most prominent props in the show. It takes place in a small space. Dancers dress in black pants and shirts with grey, formless patterns reminiscent of old broadcast TV static. The dancers illustrate error into the abstract. The mistakes that make us living, breathing creatures take the form of multiple narratives. 

The first is conceived by Posy Knight. A square is rendered on the floor. A young girl’s struggles tumble about the center of a miasma of movement. The setbacks and frustrations of youth play through quite gracefully in dreamy fits that flit from a spelling bee to so many other abstractions and distractions. Through it all, the little girl slowly perseveres until everything rolls into a kind of sleep, with all the dancers in a restless rest on the shiny, black floor. It’s a touching, emotional walk through life’s first challenges. Then the piece ends and the audience is shuffled according to the playing cards chosen at entry.

The phantasmagoric respirations of narrative then slide into a second piece. Kirk Thomsen’s contribution to aLL wRoNG has frustrations fusing into adulthood in pleasantly disjointed struggles, including scraps and scrapes of spoken word that begin to reach an electrifying peak of abstraction peering into human endeavor that comes to rest at the end of a piece by Joelle Worm. It’s a thoroughly satisfying tumble through form and motion which echoes into the space beyond the stage long after the show’s final bows.

Two more performances are scheduled: Thursday, May 4, at Best Place Tavern, 901 W. Juneau Ave. and Friday, May 5, at the Charles Allis Art Museum, 1801 N. Prospect Ave. For more information, visit cooperformke.com.


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