This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

20Apr/11

LOVER. MUSE. MOCKINGBIRD. WHORE

Laura Careless is outstanding playing several of Charles Bukowski’s women in new play (photo by Corey Tatarczuk)

A DANCE/THEATRE MEDITATION ON BUKOWSKI’S WOMEN
303 Bond Street Theatre
303 Bond St. between Union & Sackett Sts.
Fridays - Sundays through May 8, $25-$30, 8:00
800-838-3006
www.companyxiv.com

“I need a good woman. I need a good woman more than I need my typewriter,” Charles Bukowski (Jeff Takacs) proclaims in Company XIV’s mesmerizing new production, Lover. Muse. Mockingbird. Whore. “I need a good woman so badly that I can taste her in the air.” As Takacs makes his way around Zane Pihlstrom’s clever, enigmatic set, speaking into a series of old-fashioned microphones, the delightful Laura Careless embodies two of Bukowski’s muses, Vivian and Scarlet, wearing a succession of sexy, exotic lingerie, wigs, and high heels, moving sharply and dramatically in a center rectangular space cordoned off by a border of white neon lighting on the floor. She glances knowingly at the audience on occasion, changing bras with her back to the crowd, stomping atop a rotted piano, rolling around in asphalt, and jumping onto a piece of narrow furniture to write on the wall in lipstick. Conceived, choreographed, and directed by Austin McCormick expanded from a senior project at Juilliard, Lover. Muse. Mockingbird. Whore is an enticing and intoxicating sixty-minute journey into the lurid mind of Bukowski, author of such novels as Factotum, Women, Barfly, and Pulp. The tale takes place in Company XIV’s fascinating space, a former tow-truck warehouse in Brooklyn, with large doors leaning in corners and chandeliers cluttering the floor. Some of the action occurs in a separate living area with a bed, a bathtub, a toilet, and a desk where Takacs continues reciting Bukowski’s text, his image projected onto doors and walls and large shadows hovering over the space. Takacs does an excellent job portraying the iconoclastic writer with a thing for women, drink, and the horses, but it’s Careless who demands the audience’s attention, engaging in brief solo dances, writhing around on the ground, and occasionally grabbing a mic and speaking. A graduate of Juilliard and London’s Royal Ballet School, Careless moves and dances with an arresting confidence that gives emotional depth to women who could have just as easily been portrayed as shallow, cheap whores. Lover. Muse. Mockingbird. Whore., which plays Fridays through Sundays through May 8, is a thrilling night of experimental dance theater.

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