2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Walk to Topaz’ by Brendan Tetsuo

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Brendan Tetsuo began his evocative Walk to Topazas a solo dance journey to further explore his family’s heritage, developing into a fabulous Fringe offering. Traditional Japanese movements are combined with scintillating stylized dance in an endeavor to communicate the experience that began with his grandparents internment during World War II at the Japanese Internment Camp in Topaz, Utah, and the trickling down effect of this through subsequent generations.

Brendan Tetsuo Credit: Marc and Stephanie Crousillat.
Brendan Tetsuo Credit: Marc and Stephanie Crousillat.

Tetsuo’s piece starts out in solemn silence with “the walk,” in which each slow-motion step is equally deliberate, reluctant, until his back recedes into the darkness, dissolving into the deep blue curtain at the back of the performance area. In his next appearances on stage, he is transformed, animatedly spinning his story forward via expression of feet, body and limbs. Even in more subdued stances, there is an overall inherent vibrancy.

Original music including “The Only Tune” (parts 1 and 3) by Nico Muhley, “Beat the Bright Out of Me” by Kishi Bashi, plus “When We Coincide” and “Saturated Love” by Locust, complement the performance and resounds nicely around the Mascher Space Cooperative’s high ceiling and bare pine floor, and lighting effectively facilitates mood. The two flourishing kimonos worn as costumes are aptly used as character descriptions in the program as they seem to dance in lively accord to the music, ingeniously billowing in the flow of fan generated wind, and in particular to the dynamics of the dancer.

Running Time: 35 minutes, with no intermission.

Walk to Topaz plays through September 23, 2016 by Brendan Tetsuo at the Mascher Space Cooperative –  155 Cecil B Moore Avenue, in Philadelphia, PA. For tickets, purchase them at the door, or online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1553.gif

BEST OF THE 2016 PHILADELPHIA FRINGE!