Home Grown: Arts, Culture and Adventures
With style, verve, and humor, Alight illuminates our deepest secrets at the preview party for Truth Be Told
A glamorous gathering in a New York-style warehouse loft, cat-fighting reality show contestants, and “sneak peaks” at original dance theater pieces aren’t usually events associated with Greenbelt, Maryland. But they are when you are talking about alight dance theater's October preview party for their new work, "Truth Be Told," premiering in DC and Greenbelt in early 2012.
And what a party! The Union Avenue warehouse, now converted into a loft, with its exposed structural fixtures, white painted walls, and quirky art installations, seemed more suited to Tribeca than Baltimore’s Hampden-Woodberry neighborhood.
A DJ spinning electronica music and an imaginative array of delicacies prepared by Jeremy and Melissa Ehrenreich and Benjamin Foster, added to the sophisticated urban ambience. But the food donated by local vendors—Firefly Farms, Corridor Fine Wine, Zeke’s Coffee, Three Springs Fruit Farm, Shlagel Farms, Simple Pleasures Ice Café ice cream, Greenbelt Co-op Supermarket, and MOM’s Organic Market—maintained that connection to Greenbelt.
The evening’s real highlights were the three dance pieces, created by local choreographers. Anxiety, the malaise of stressful modern lives, provided a common thread. "Agreeable," incorporating dance and spoken word to explore the effort in maintaining a people-pleasing façade, opened the program. The next piece, "Inner Palette," a solo work, expressed a range of emotion, including agitation and distress. Disquiet—as well as humor—also pervaded alight’s newest production, "Truth Be Told."
"Truth Be Told" should feel very familiar, as it blends clichés from "Survivor," "Big Brother," "The Bachelorette," and especially "Jersey Shore": the prima-donna hostess, the plotting, the cat-fighting, the inane contrived elimination challenges and—when the multimedia component is finalized—the larger-than-life “confession cam!”
Inspired by the hyper-reality of the public apology—of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, among others—alight theater and artistic director Angella Foster deconstructs secret-keeping and the ritual of public apology through the live-action reality show, a genre which Angella describes as the “morality play of modern life.”
Talking about how Jane Austen commented on the foibles of her characters, Foster explained that through the medium of the reality show, we all get to comment on the folly of our fellow men and women.
Even if you missed the party, you can still see Truth Be Told in its entirety. The work premieres at Washington, DC’s Dance Place on January 21–22, 2012. The Greenbelt Arts Center presents performances on February 17–18, 2012. For more information, visit alight’s website. And don’t miss "Greenbelt Dances! Expo"—alight is co-sponsoring the dance expo at the Greenbelt Community Center on Nov. 6, 2011, from 1–5 p.m., featuring performances, workshops and local dancers of all ages.