Photo of Wojciech Mochniej and Maya Lewandowsky by Aaron McCullough RED DOT PHOTOGRAPHY
When we fall in love with someone, truly and absolutely, we fall with utter and reckless abandon. Because really, what else do we want to do but breathe, feel, hold, know, and monopolize that person as much as humanly possible? I guess this part of love is just obvious; most of us have been there before. But the question that choreographer Melissa Monteros explores in her work, Triangular Theories of Love, is, what happens when the initial crazy-in-love, can’t-breathe, can’t-be-apart, insane passion stage wears off? As she puts it in the program: How do we stay in love? This contemporary work, presented by W & M Physical Theatre at Dancers’ Studio West between January 26th -29th 2011, dives into this question. Monteros presents us with a chance to reflect on and look at the experiences of love through four sets of couples, each struggling to find their own answer.
The theatre doors open. As we file in to take our seats we are greeted by a looming fog hanging in the air. Darkness engulfs the empty stage; an impatient beat of music reaches our ears. Bickering voices are heard from somewhere unseen, and out come the first couple. What follows is an intertwining of such artistic mediums as movement, music, lighting, text, and media that weave together a story of relationships. The movement qualities shift between both airy eloquence and grounded physicality; simple gestures and actions appear throughout the work, personifying at once the roles we typically assign gender whilst lending an enigmatic air to the intentions and wills of the characters. Each performer embodies the choreography differently, and contrasting glimpses of verve and doubt are explored in each of them as they test their loyalties, consider their desires, and ponder what might rekindle the passion of their relationships. Deep sensuality, lightheartedness, and humour are all exemplified by the embodiment of contrasting and dynamic movement phrases. Sharp, quick, and darting phrases give way to slow, expanding, and breathable ones. Couples exert power over one another as they quite literally butt heads, firmly gripping and wrestling each other back and forth across the floor. At one point they take it in turn to sit on the back of the other as their partner crawls tempestuously through the space beneath them. Through movement, the cycles of calmness and frustration are crafted and explored, the music assists in setting the tone between the two extremes. The lighting allows the audience a spot lit peak at the couple’s most intimate moments, showing their sorrow and exhaustion as well as their happiness and elation, while both text and media provide an opportunity to discern the inner workings of their minds.
Triangular Theories of Love is a work that makes you contemplate your own reasons for being with someone, helping you to understand and acknowledge love’s ever changing nature as it evolves over time. Most importantly, though, the piece leaves you with a quiet joy; an appreciation for the underlying tenderness won only by those willing to prevail through love’s ups and downs.