This is a past event.
When: Thu., June 10, 8 p.m., Fri., June 11, 8 p.m., Sat., June 12, 8 p.m. and Sun., June 13, 2 p.m. 2010
Price: $32
www.spoletousa.org

Inspired by a short story by film director Tim Burton, Oyster blurs the line between dreams and reality. Elaborate, fantastical costumes and highly imaginative props become an integral part of the choreography, performed by the Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company of Israel. Vivid and quirky, this mélange of phantasmagoric and comic vignettes is part dance, part theater, and part carnival sideshow. Sponsored by Charleston Place and presented by Spoleto Festival USA.

It's dance with a difference.
Oyster incorporates acting, classical ballet, flying rigs, clowning, circus tricks, and freak show visuals. Creators Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak aim to lay out a string of heady ingredients for audiences to pick and choose from. There's no central narrative, but plenty of short scenes to sample. It's left up to us to decide what they all mean. Oyster is many things to many people.

It's for all ages
"I won't say 'don't bring the children,'" says Avshalom Pollak, who shares choreography, costume, set, soundtrack, and wig-design duties with Inbal Pinto. "Children can understand it differently from adults and enjoy it in their own way. It's not for a specific age. It's just something we like." Some of the performers will be glad of that — one actor is 62, and an actress is 73. In all, there are 19 dancers, actors, and other performers, all bringing the bizarre world of Oyster to life.

No two performances are the same The show has developed over the past 11 years, and it continues to grow with each rehearsal and production. Yet certain elements remain the same: there are Tim Burton-meets-Frederico Fellini dream visuals; there are sad and humorous moments; the costumes make some of the dancers look malformed, weighed down, or tied up; and the allegories are subtle and sophisticated. Some audience members will enjoy Pinto and Pollak's meticulous, stylized dance movements; others will appreciate the surreal world they create. But there should be enough spectacular imagery to suit every taste.

— Nick Smith
click to enlarge EYAL LANDESMAN

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