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The Beátitudes: The Beat Goes On (Fringe Festival 2010)

by Stephen Tortora-Lee on August 20, 2010

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What’s Beat? The Beat is Beat? Do you dig? (snap,snap).
The story we have is the story we were, twirling and twisting about in a blur whose end and beginning is a boy and a girl. That story –  two ends – are tender and sweet . . . But what we got in the middle is what we call the Beat. (roll of tom-toms).
JerryChip Scuderi, Maureen Duke

Jerry'Chip' Scuderi, Maureen Duke

1. Sailor Kisses Girl.

Sailor Kissing Nurse by Alfred Isanstadt

Sailor Kissing Nurse by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Eidolon Ballet Company’s The Beátitudes begin with a drum beat – complex but steady – pulling us forward through a photo montage of World War II while simultaneously we are bombarded by our heroic dancers doing what they’re instructed and pushing through the mess and grime of war.  We see them acting like machines as they move through the repetitious motions of the military.  However we see their body’s expressions inform us of their need to be human too as they take turns helping their fellow soldiers or as they are being saved themselves.

Then comes the day that the War Ends with great Glory and Adulation and we get to the real beginning of the Story at hand.  The Kiss!

Theirs is the spark that connects the boy (Ray played by Jerry “Chip” Scuderi ) and the girl (Alvah played by Maureen Duke) through the rest of the story through many morphs and changes.  It’s their spark that acts as a reflection of the sparks waking up everywhere else.

What’s the Beat so far?
The Beat is Jazz . . . Jazz filling up your brain cool and fast. The Beat is being free to be something different, but something that’s in sync with a greater groove so smooth, you don’t know where you’re going until you already left.

2. Values and Re-evaluation

After the aftershocks of the Returning Home fades, we see the Couple enter the Beat Scene as the Scene begins forming around them.   It forms by way of the Subterraneans and Dean who acts as a shining star around which everyone is going to revolve.  As the voice-overs of words and music from the time period inform us,  this movement or experience that becomes The Beat Generation was at first alien to everyone, but everyone’s hunger for wonder fueled an amazing exploration of many new ways of appreciating other people and ideas and sensations.

They get brought into one group out of curiosity and then they are intrigued with the possibilities of expression and variety in people and ideas and art.  This becomes obsession about what was once only something to be looked forward

The middle has most everyone lost in a new roles that make their heads spin in new ways.  They’re finding mastery at arts  and then realing they can go in another direction.  They’re enlarging their emotional capacity for handling loss, creating independence and escaping dependence on others by leading. They’re learning all the sexual twists and turns one can make, but realizing that in the long run love beats mere sensation even in a world that’s Beat (as showcased in the budding relationship between Dean and Maggie played by A. Temple Kemezis).  And Finally that there’s always something more to find.

Pictured: Valerie Cortier, Chip Scuderi, Danielle Cortier, Alfredo Solivan, Ashley Talluto

Pictured: Valerie Cortier, Chip Scuderi, Danielle Cortier, Alfredo Solivan, Ashley Talluto

What’s there Cracker-Jack as you look at your hands?
They tingle/touch/scream/settle into a new place.
Then when they finally find it -
This new flow in us becomes a dance we are becoming -
Shifting/sifting ’round and  ’round we’re tossed until we find our balance.
Until we become who we really are…
For now anyway…

3. Tales of Filling Learning, Yearning, Burning, and then Re-Turning to Something New

The meat of the show has an almost overabundance of mental and emotional sustenance, with lots to read within and between the lines of this dialogueless play.  The movement of the dancers conveys more than dialogue could in terms of the language of immediacy and urgency and the subtle transformation of self that happens when you learn something new yourself through careful study or thoughtful introspection that seem to be hallmarks of the ideals and themes of the times.

Also between the media displayed on  the large and beautifully worked screen in the backdrop of this show and the playing of music and reading of words from leaders of that generation (like Jack Keruoac, Allen Ginsberg, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and many more)  The Beátitudes is one of the most in depth as well as entertaining history immersements I’ve ever had, especially for the time involved (35 minutes).

It was wonderful to watch and explore the progression of The Beat movement using the two main characters as elements exemplifying the best and worst emotional experiences that were typical of that era.  These characters find a greater depth and satisfaction through their journey through The Beat Era, and what seem to be wholesome decent futures are resonant of who they were at the beginning of the play, but resonating on a higher but more complex level.

Valerie Cortier, Alfredo Solivan, Ashley Talluto, Jerry Chip Scuderi, Cailtin Maxwell

Valerie Cortier, Alfredo Solivan, Ashley Talluto, Jerry 'Chip' Scuderi, Cailtin Maxwell

There’s really a lot that more I could say about this dynamic and beautiful show but I don’t want to go on longer than the production which is only 35 minutes long.

So I’ll end by saying that my hope for this show was to have a greater appreciation for this poetic and magic time of social transformation in our history.  I came away from it feeling that The Beátitudes transmitted enough of the vibes of the time – The Beat – that I’m now a part of the revolution/evolution of the time too.

Let the Eidolon Ballet move you to the sound of their different drumbeat in the The Beátitudes.

Only 1 more show Fri 20 @ 8.

Can you Dig it? (snap)(snap)


The Beatitudes
Eidolon Ballet
Writer: Justin Allen with poetry and jazz from the Beat Generation
Choreographer: Melanie Cortier

0h 35m
VENUE #1: Dixon Place

Click here to purchase tickets: Fri 20 @ 8
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