Graham’s works revived and her persona recreated
Eighty-five years after she started her revolutionary troupe, Martha Graham’s dancers still wow audiences. Under the direction of Janet Eilber, Graham’s venerable choreography (“Deaths and Entrances,” “Maple Leaf Rag” and three works celebrating the designs of Isamu Noguchi) shares the Rose Theater stage with Robert Wilson’s 1995 “Snow on the Mesa.”
Eilber is seeking “a feeling of American space,” she says, and to reveal how Graham “found a way to make thoughts visible and change time onstage.”
Since 1996, Graham’s outsize personality has been channeled through Richard Move, the 6-foot-4 performer who has represented her on club and concert stages.
“Martha will not leave me alone,” Move says of the dancer/choreographer, who died in 1991. “The 92nd St. Y archivist found the audio transcript of an onstage interview between dance critic Walter Terry and Graham from March 31, 1963. I got so excited by this historic moment,” he enthuses. “We’re taking it to a whole new level, with the dancers and a design element that’s Noguchi-inspired.”
In addition to Move’s performance as Graham in the recreation of that interview at Dance Theater Workshop, the gender envelope is further pushed as Tony-nominated actress and playwright Lisa Kron portrays Terry. “People will get inside [Graham’s] brain, visualized in a theatrical way,” Move says. “There are moments of levity and moments of darkness; she reveals things I’ve never heard her say before.”