ABT Mixed Bill: Morris, Ashton, Balanchine

There’s something about walking into the Metropolitan Opera House for American Ballet Theatre’s spring season that always reminds me why it is I live in New York. While I sometimes find their counterpart across the plaza, New York City Ballet, more exciting for the chance to see dancers rising through the ranks and a wide array of ballets new and old, ABT offers a certain grandeur that never fails to draw me back. While the spring season primarily consists of evening-length classics (think Swan Lake, Don Quioxte), Thursday night’s program offered three disparate ballets, ranging from Mark Morris’s breezy modernity to Balanchine’s ode to classicism.

First up was Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, originally made for the company by Mark Morris in 1988. The ballet is set to a number of piano etudes by Virgil Thomson (an important modernist composer, who also composed Gertrude Stein’s opera Three Saints in Four Acts, which Morris later choreographed) played by Barbara Bilach on a piano at the back of the stage. The ballet’s easy classicism is intermixed with a sense of grounded-ness that belies its creator’s modern dance background. The loose white costumes echo this sense of ease, as the dancers come and go, creating intricate patterns and surprising images.


Melanie Hamrick, Yuriko Kajiya and Marian Butler in Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. Photo: Gene Schiavone.

Melanie Hamrick, Yuriko Kajiya and Marian Butler in Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.
Photo: Gene Schiavone.

Although this work is largely non-hierarchical, with no clear principals, there were a few dancers in particular who caught my attention. Joseph Gorak, still in the corps de ballet, was a standout in the central role. With feet and extensions that would make many a ballerina jealous, he breezed through a series of pirouettes which ended in controlled extensions with grace. Kristi Boone’s clarity and daring was stunning, yet assured.

A Month in the Country, by British choreographer Frederick Ashton, is “freely adapted” from the play by Ivan Turgenev. The set for this ballet is absolutely stunning—richly detailed layers frame a central living space, a smaller piano room, and the garden beyond. The ballet tells the story of Natalia Petrovna (Hee Seo), the bored wife of an older man, whose life at her country house is interrupted by the arrival of a tutor (David Hallberg) who becomes entangled with both Natalia and her young ward (Sara Lane).

Hee Seo in A Month in the Country Photo: Marty Sohl

Hee Seo in A Month in the Country
Photo: Marty Sohl

I had never seen Seo dance a principal role before this performance, and was quickly converted. She exuded elegance in her pristine lines and silky movements and was convincing in her portrayal of Natalia’s jealously and later heartbreak. Hallberg was wonderful as always, even out of his usual princely element.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about ABT doing Balanchine—whether they should, if they’re doing it right, which company members are cut out for it—so anticipation was high for their performances of Symphony in C. The ballet is a study in structure and style, and Balanchine’s particular brand of classicism. Each of the four movements features a principal couple, two secondary couples, and a corps de ballet of women in white tutus and tiaras like the principals (the men are in black).

Stella Abrera was regal and refined in the 1st movement, ably partnered by Eric Tamm. In the grand and lyrical 2nd movement, Marcelo Gomes’s gaze and attentive partnering immediately focused our attention on Polina Semionova (although sadly, we don’t get to see much of his own dancing in this role).

Polina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes in Symphony in C Photo: Marty Sohl

Polina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes in Symphony in C
Photo: Marty Sohl

Natalia Osipova and her partner Ivan Vasiliev soared with the incredible buoyancy we have come to expect from these Russian superstars in the 3rd movement (she even more so than he), but I found myself wishing they would turn down the Bolshoi showiness a notch (an open-mouthed ah-ha! smile seemed to punctuate each movement). Simone Messmer, along with partner Jared Matthews, was a breath of fresh air in the spirited 4th movement, executing the difficult choreography with élan and airy confidence.

While the corps de ballet looked a bit uneven at times, the dancers pulled together for the always-thrilling finale, in which the entire cast returns to the stage, dancing in unison at high speed. Purists may argue that ABT doesn’t have the appropriate style or speed for Balanchine, but it is always a delight to see this ballet, and was a fine opportunity to see some of their soloists in particular shine.


Dancing in the House of Difference: Marjani Forte’s “being Here…”

A woman sits or stands in front of us and begins laughing. Or is she crying? When she sighs, it is unclear whether she is exhaling from exhaustion or pleasure.  Her noises slowly become more specific, the beginnings of words that are never quite formed, that can’t be understood. This scene, with minor variations, is repeated a number of times in choreographer Marjani Forté’s first evening-length work, being Here…, performed at Danspace Project in March. The struggle to be understood, to find one’s voice, and to express oneself is at the heart of this work, which purports to examine “mental illness and addiction in the face of systemic injustice.” The work was informed, in part, by the stories Forté hear from women from the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, where she spent time doing research for the piece.

Dancers in rehearsal for Marjani Forte's being Here... Photo: Wah Ming Cha

Dancers in rehearsal for Marjani Forte’s being Here…
Photo: Wah Ming Cha

The cast of six women (Rebecca Bliss, Tendayi Kuumba, Jasmine Hearn, Autumn Scoggan, Alice Sheppard, and Samantha Speis, each powerful and captivating in her own way) included performers of diverse skin color, body types, and abilities. Difference is in many ways at the heart of this piece, and yet Forté refuses to reduce any performer to being defined simply by a particular difference. I am reminded of a phrase from Audre Lorde’s “biomythography,” Zami, where she writes that “our place was the very house of difference rather than the security of any one difference.” As the women of being Here… come together in various groupings (if only to separate again), Forté asks us to consider the ravages of mental illness and addiction as one of many (non-defining) iterations of difference.

In one section, introduced by the tell-tale ding-dong that signals the closing of subway doors, three different women enter and alternately amuse and frighten the passengers with their antics, ranging from overly brash singing along to an imaginary Ipod to brash, expletive-laden rants. Forté asks us to look more closely at these interlopers we so often ignore: at what point do we consider someone “crazy” and thus ignorable? That the two white performers are the passengers, and the interlopers all women of color, forces us to think about the racial dynamics of this question: are certain bodies, dressed in certain ways (here, mismatched oversized layers) more likely to be interpreted as disruptive, as “too much”?

Forte’s choreography makes the connection between body and speech explicit: the women’s muddled enunciations are mirrored by facial and bodily twitches and shaking: the effort to speak is made visible. The role of breath and of the tongue as integral components in speaking are foregrounded as well. At one point, the dancers draw large lateral arcs in the air with their tongues, seeming both to taste the air and to mark the space as their own. Later, another dancer, her back to the audience, voraciously sucks, licks, or kisses her own arms, exaggerating the smacking sounds of her lips.

In a duet with Bliss, Sheppard, in a wheelchair, assumes the active role, supporting and pushing her partner, driving and guiding the action with the same easy sureness she displayed in an earlier solo. Their duet, which began playfully, later turns aggressive, returning to the theme of emotional volatility that characterizes the piece. Having cast off Bliss, Sheppard puts her hand to Scoggan’s mouth, in what is at once a violent silencing and a potentially compassionate act: relieving her of the burden of explaining herself to others.

The powerful penultimate section took on a militant tone, as movements became larger and powerfully aggressive. While the group continued to fragment and re-form, the more frequent collective movement in this section added to its forceful impact. In the final moments, Sheppard and Speis came to face each other, with a mix of compassion and curiosity. Their outstretched fingers almost touched, but then slowly changed direction to point back toward their own chests, in a shared moment of self-realization. This final image illustrates the hopeful potential of living and loving together “in the house of difference.” This dance is not about making oneself intelligible to others, but about the ways that we view and respond to what we consider unintelligible.

being Here…
Marjani Forté
Danspace Project
Friday, March 22

originally published in the CUNY Advocate

Dance in America: Paul Taylor & Marjani Forte Reviewed

My April review of Paul Taylor and Marjani Forte is now up at the CUNY Advocate.


“Paul Taylor’s works, which range from playful to darkly tragic, are, at their core, distinctly American. He has made scenes from American life—from the congregational dynamics of a Southern Pentecostal church to life on the home front during World War II—suitable subjects for dance in a way that few others have managed, avoiding both bland universality and hokey literalness.”

Read the full review here.

Dancers in rehearsal for Marjani Forte's being Here... Photo: Wah Ming Cha

Dancers in rehearsal for Marjani Forte’s being Here…
Photo: Wah Ming Cha

“This dance is not about making oneself intelligible to others, but about the ways that we view and respond to what we consider unintelligible.”

Performances You Should See: American Realness

I’m spending the next month and a half locked in the library, studying for an upcoming exam, and won’t be getting to see nearly as much dance  as I would like. However, there are an overwhelming amount of opportunities to see interesting dance in the city right now, thanks to the presenters’ festival APAP and other concurrent festivals, so I’m going to offer some brief suggestions on what YOU might want to see.

Among them, the American Realness Festival (which started yesterday and runs through Jan. 20) offers a chance to see a number of fantastic contemporary dance and performances which you may have missed the first time around. As an added bonus, the majority of the performances are held at the charmingly historical Abrons Art Center (what can I say, I’m a sucker for shutters!)

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)
Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Below are some of the offerings that I had a chance too see last year, and would highly recommend checking out in the coming days (full schedule here). Click on the performance titles for what I thought about the pieces the first time around:

Keith Hennessy, Turbulence (a dance about the economy) (dates/info here)

Turbulence (a dance about the economy) blew my mind when I saw it in October. Drawing inspiration from Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, Judith Jack Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure, and a myriad of other unlikely dance sources, Turbulence reinserts bodies into our discourse about the economy, while simultaneously investigating its own economies. It was a wild ride, but an inviting one. I’m sure your experience of Turbulence will be entirely different from the one I had, and that’s exactly why you should go.

Faye Driscoll, You’re Me (dates/info here)

Another must-see. One of my favorite performances of 2012, and one I wish I could see again. Driscoll seems to hit on something manifestly contemporary with this messy blend of awkwardness and exuberance.

Maria Hassabi’s SHOW (dates/info here)

I saw this as part of the River to River Festival downtown this summer. The performance then “was truly part of the life of the street,” and I’d be interested to see how this translates into an indoor space.

Trajal Harrell, Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure)/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (M2M) (dates/info here)

This is the final offering in choreographer Harrell’s Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church project, which asks the question “What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ball scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church?” While the first half of the piece is tedious (and intentionally so), the sometimes ecstatic second half leaves us with a number of unanswered questions and possibilities, as Harrell masterfully imagines new ways of thinking about and following up on these two lineages.

Also on offer is another work in the series, in the (L) “size,” in which Harrell presents an “all-male version of Sophocles’s Greek tragic drama Antigone.

So, go! See some dance! I’m jealous already!

Designed to Fail: Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence (a dance about the economy)

I saw and reviewed Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence (a dance about the economy) back in October of last year, but the review never ended up being published. Lucky for you, Turbulence is coming back to New York as part of the American Realness festival this Friday through Sunday, so I thought I’d share my reflections on it from the first time around. I’m sure your experience of Turbulence will be entirely different from the one I had in October, and that’s exactly why you should go.

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)
Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

How can a dance be about the economy? Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence (a dance about the economy), presented in October at New York Live Arts, was described as “a bodily response to the economic crisis…engaging questions of debt, value, and exchange.” Embodiment is a dimension that often gets lost among numbers and policy in discussions of the economy, but how exactly does one embody complex financial issues? Hennessy, a San Francisco-based choreographer and performance artist, envisioned the piece as a “collaborative failure,” taking inspiration from Judith Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure, which suggests that we find alternatives to conventional understandings of success. Among the performance’s other noted references were: Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, “academic texts on neoliberal financialization,” and “activist tracts from Occupy blogs.” While this collection of sources (some of which were scattered onstage) may sound like a grad school syllabus, Turbulence was far from academic.

Entering the theatre on Thursday night felt like walking into a rehearsal that was on the verge of turning into a party. The stage area was expansive, with a large white marley floor laid askew and no curtains or backdrops obscuring the theatre’s brick walls and production equipment. Music was being played loudly by a man sitting onstage amidst a tangle of wires, and performers wandered throughout the seating area, offering whiskey in plastic cups and inviting audience members to come onstage for “fake healings.”

Already in progress when we entered, the performance had no clear beginning, but at various points featured (among other things) performers swinging from and falling down a triangle-shaped trapeze, a pregnant woman sauntering around with a cigarette in her mouth, and two men frantically gnawing, slapping, and kissing each other in the aisle. At any given moment, at least three or four such disparate scenes were taking place on the stage and in the aisles. Every now and then you would look over to notice that someone had climbed a pipe almost to the ceiling. The distinction between performers and audience members was so blurred that I was frequently unable to distinguish who was “actually” in the piece. This chaotic collage was intermittently interrupted by performers who would just stop and watch or begin chatting with the audience, prompting Empress Jupiter, our roving emcee in drag, to yell “Action! I want to see action!” Turbulence however, was indifferent to demands that a coherent artistic product (action!) be presented.

Largely improvisational, the performance’s only structure was a number of set elements devised by the cast, but even these could occur in any order. One of these elements was the creation of a human pyramid, composed of performers and audience members, their faces covered with gold-sequined hoods. The image was immediately evocative of the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib, the sequined hoods adding an ironic element of glamour as the participants visibly struggled to hold the position. Later, a naked Ishmael Houston-Jones was carried out of the theatre, as if in a funeral procession, to the sounds of a looped commercial voice-over: “the markets, the technology, the borderless economy, the world…” Images like these offered clear critiques of unstable structures and the human casualties of the globalized economy, and yet happened amidst sloppy, irreverent chaos.

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)
Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Ironically, Hennessy received more funding for this performance than for any other piece he has created. He used the majority of that funding to hire a huge cast (fourteen performers in its New York incarnation). One of them informed us that they were each receiving $700 a week: “The most I’ve ever been paid.” Later, Hennessy gave us a breakdown of the piece’s expenses and fees. Questions of value and exchange were made literal as the economic forces behind these performing bodies were revealed. Yet as I frantically scribbled down these details, his words became indiscernible, as his mic cut out: concrete economic connections and critiques were repeatedly undermined just as they began to crystallize.

So was this really “a dance about the economy”? By the time Hennessy stepped out of the fray to announce that “now we should go to debt and financialization,” (a remark met with a chorus of laughs), it was clear that attempts to see the performance as an uncomplicated metaphor for the economy were doomed to fail. An unstable structure itself, Turbulence repeatedly pointed out to us how verbal explanations of bodily responses were insufficient, cutting them off just as they began to make sense. Continually falling apart, changing direction, and critiquing itself, Turbulence invited its audience to witness and partake in a radical re-thinking of value on a number of levels.

“And lose the name of action”: Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People

BAM Fisher
December 5, 2012

Miguel Guttierez writes on his website, “I make performances that are about things and are things themselves. The things they are about are big…” His latest work, And lose the name of action, lives up to this pronouncement, taking on the relationships between perception and reality, mind and body. The performance’s title is heady in its inspiration as well, drawn from the final lines of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech. In an eloquent program note, Guttierez explained the performance’s genesis—his father’s neurological problems—and his subsequent research into neurological and philosophical perspectives on the relationship of the body and its interactions to perception. He was surprised however, that dance and somatic practices were not generally part of these inquiries, and sought to address this gap in the creation of this piece.

Hilary Clark and Luke George in "And lose the name of action"

Hilary Clark and Luke George in “And lose the name of action”
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

However, And lose the name of action was not nearly as cerebral or theory-heavy as its premise made it sound. The performance was an ever-shifting mélange of dance, song, speech, improvisation, and recorded sound and images, which took place on a white floor, surrounded by white curtains, projection screens, and a glowing white parachute hanging from the ceiling. Having previously voiced his frustration at the way that thin, young, pretty, female, and white seemed to have become the default attributes for those considered dancers, Guttierez assembled an experienced cast of six performers (Michelle Boulé, Hilary Clark, Luke George, K.J. Holmes, Ishmael Houston-Jones, and himself) of varying ethnicities, sizes, and ages. What’s more, these performers were never used in ways that reduced them to these characteristics.

The pure-dance sections of the piece were often initiated or advanced by commands from Guttierez: “stop,” “pause,” “shift,” “and,” “and,” “and.” On one level, this is the language of dance class or of rehearsal, coming from a director or choreographer, but within the context of this performance it also highlighted the relationship between movement and language. “And” as an utterance can connect the words of a sentence, but it can also connect and initiate movements.

The performance frequently investigated the slipperiness of language, or suspicion regarding its meaning. An actor, Paul Duncan, at times appeared projected on the white screens, waxing philosophical in a suit and a British accent. What a contrast between his crisp, buttoned-up presentation and that of the dancers: messy, and unstructured, appearing in revolving a mix of crowns, winter coats, gowns, t-shirts, underwear, or nothing at all. His words were at times taken up by the performers, as if in conversation; at other times, they were severed from his image through a disorienting delay between the sound and the two screens.

Performer K.J. Holmes and Actor Paul Duncan (on screen) in "And lose the name of action"

Performer K.J. Holmes and Actor Paul Duncan (on screen) in “And lose the name of action”

Early on, in a parody of 1960’s or 70’s era audience participation performance techniques, Houston-Jones, holding court in a robe and crown in the center of the space, asked us, in an exaggeratedly instructional tone, to place our feet firmly on the ground and join hands with the people next to us. The invitation was met with laughter and good-natured participation (we even connected across the aisles!). The other performers, seated among us in designated white chairs in the front rows, joined in, and were drawn into ecstatic thrall as the lights dimmed, the volume increased, and Houston-Jones summoned some sort of deity from the billowing parachute above.

While the tongue-in-cheek quality of this section was played up, it was nonetheless one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening. This was one of the few times we as audience members were able to directly partake in the experiential nature of Guttierez’s choreography, which is at the heart of his research interests. In the program notes, he writes about “a choreographic mode of perception where meaning is not an analytical proposition but an experiential one.” What deserves further exploration in this work is the differences in perception between audience members and performers: while both might be engaging with meaning on an experiential level, that experience differs depending on whether one is watching or performing.

Toward the end of the piece, Guttierez and Houston-Jones (later joined by the other performers) enacted a philosophical debate on the nature of perception. As if actors rehearsing a play, they held binders and read their dialogue in a stagey manner. Their faux-seriousness was intermittently pierced by synchronized bursts of laughter, at increasingly unlikely points. How seriously were we to follow their interchange? Were we watching (or listening) for the content of their banter or for the performance of the debate? The back-and-forth eventually devolved into a loud cacophony of “fuck you”s and “you believe your senses. Don’t be such an idiot!” as the performers chased each other around the room in anger.

Miguel Guttierez and Ishmael Houston-Jones in "And lose the name of action" Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Miguel Guttierez and Ishmael Houston-Jones in “And lose the name of action”
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

The final sections began to drag a bit, as we grew accustomed to these juxtapositions of language and physicality, theory and presence. This type of sensory and intellectual overload seems more effective in (slightly) smaller doses. As we sat listening to the man on the screen repeat “You’re blank,” the stage manager poked in to say “thank you,” notifying us of the show’s conclusion (there were no curtain calls).

Probing complex theoretical issues without allowing them to overtake or overshadow the bodily presence of performers, Gutierrez and his cast shifted ambiguously between the ironic and the earnest. While his lofty inquiries about the relationship between perception and reality, body and mind, and movement and language were only intermittently evident to the audience, there was still much to admire and enjoy in this unpredictable work, brimming over with ideas and images.

Kidd Pivot’s “The Tempest Replica”

The dancers of Kidd Pivot in Crystal Pite's "The Tempest Replica." Photo Credit: Jorg Baumann

The dancers of Kidd Pivot in Crystal Pite’s “The Tempest Replica.”
Photo Credit: Jorg Baumann

Taking on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as Crystal Pite did with her production of The Tempest Replica, would be a challenging task for any choreographer. Centering around Prospero, the overthrown Duke of Milan, stranded on an island with his daughter Miranda, the play explores themes including magic, justice, and performance through its multiple plots. In the past half-century, The Tempest has also been looked at as a commentary on colonialism, the “discovery” of new lands, and the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. Created on her company, Kidd Pivot, Pite’s The Tempest Replica had its New York premiere at the Joyce Theatre last week.

Sitting in my seat before the performance, I tried to make my way through the program’s summary of the play’s plot, by way of refresher. Perhaps I shouldn’t say “before” the performance, because, as is common in contemporary dance these days, one of the dancers, Eric Beauchesne, was already seated onstage, folding paper into origami. While Beauchesne’s all-black outfit originally made me think of a stagehand finishing up before the show started, it became clear once the curtain rose that he was both Prospero and the production’s director, organizing and commanding the action onstage. The other dancers, the “replicas” of the title, were dressed entirely in white, their heads entirely covered by alien-like wrappings. The homogenizing anonymity of these masks, along with the dancers’ robotic movements, positioned them as the pawns, manipulated and positioned by Prospero. While visually striking, this costuming choice, in addition to the limited movement vocabulary of these dancers, seemed terribly reductive, particularly with regard to the complexities and nuances of Shakespeare’s play.

The plot of The Tempest was explained through a variety of special effects, which were theatrically impressive, but didn’t seem to serve any further purpose. While the projection of the word “ISLAND” in large capitals on the neutral backdrop seemed an interestingly minimalist way of announcing the setting, it soon became clear that this was simply a lazy method of filling in the many gaps in the story. At one point, the word “daughter” was projected in light onto Miranda’s dress (While the various characters in Shakespeare’s play were given in the program, the dancers were not listed as portraying specific roles). Brief films of shadows, explanatory phrases, act and scene numbers, and lines from the text further filled in the complex narrative of the play. However, the production never took up any of the complexities of Shakespeare’s play, choosing rather to deal only with its surface elements. Despite the numerous devices used to convey the plot to us, all but the barest skeleton of the plot remained obscure. Why use Shakespeare’s play as a framework when so little of it was conveyed by the dancing?

Dancers in Crystal Pite's "The Tempest Replica"Photo Credit: Jorg Baumann

Dancers in Crystal Pite’s “The Tempest Replica”
Photo Credit: Jorg Baumann

I thought that perhaps this question would be answered by the second half of the performance, in which the “replicas” and persistent explanation disappeared, replaced by more impressionistic vignettes in which dancers represented distillations of the play’s themes in contemporary dress. This change in mode resulted in a dramatically expanded range of movements, as the dancers emerged as individuals, executing virtuosic displays of slicing leg extensions and rapid turns. However, despite the elaborate set-up of the piece’s first half, these dances seemed to be little more than a disconnected set of solos and duets, showing off the prowess of Pite’s talented dancers. While the emotions or relationships at the heart of these dances was clear, they never deepened or complicated our impressions of the scenes from the first half.

In the epilogue, the dancers returned in the costumes of the first half, but the roles were now switched. The white-clothed men were the actors, manipulating the now mannequin-like Prospero. After lowering him to the ground, the men began to clap, slowly and silently, celebrating what seemed like his death. In the play, the final applause plays a very different role, as Prospero, in his final lines after releasing his slaves, asks the audience to pardon and release him with their applause. With her revision, Pite seemed to be saying something about the death of the creator, or the assumption of power by the performers, but within the performance’s structure, it fell flat.

Dance is not incompatible with Shakespeare’s themes, as choreographers from Frederick Ashton and George Balanchine (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) to José Limon (The Moor’s Pavane, loosely based on Othello) have shown. Rather than simply transposing these narratives from one art form to another, these works succeeded through nuanced translation. However, if a dance requires its audience to understand literally the complexities of a written text, it is doomed to failure. Literal interpretations, by definition, rely on the surface value of the words in a text, while dance is a form that finds its value in moving beyond the literal, and in showing and expressing what words cannot. In expending so much effort to ensure that our literal understanding was complete, The Tempest Replica never succeeded in attaining this level of transcendence.