March 18, 2012
At Roulette( Brooklyn) two women stand chatting together on the
apron at the side of the stage, while two men sit opposite one another on piano benches
below the stage. Thus begins Stephanie Skura: Two Huts, a collaboration of poetry,
dance, drama and music, based on the idea of two women living side by side. The
approach is anything but conventional theater and the journey is full of texture, emotion
and eventually, transformation.
Ms. Skura, in orange stretch jeans and feathers in her hair, is joined by Debra Wanner,
wearing hot pink capri jeans with leaves in her hair, and brown jackets, of their own
design. Two squares of light illuminate the four characters as they come in to view,
lights popping on and off while the women appear more static and the men advance
towards each other.
The women don eyeglasses and carry little notebooks in which they
scribble, audibly pressing the pen on the page. When they begin reciting "the rules":
door can be open....or closed; when you take time for yourself use 1/2 of it to lie down;
rearrange hut once a week- notice the walls are fluid; rewrite the rules- the humor is
evident. Despite the sincere, poetic face of Ms. Wanner, and the obvious idiocy of the
men, Todd Jefferson Moore and Tom Cayler, Ms. Skura is definitely as interested in the
words as the movement.
Charming wiggles interspersed with static poses permeate the choreography while 'love
letters to the world' float from the balcony into the audience, accompanied by drawings
from the notebooks which invites us to feel closer to their experience. Each woman
hangs the letters on a string where they resemble birds, kites, butterflies. It is an
added benefit to read the letters later. Though the piece is fragmented (from the
snippets of dance and the men speaking of turtles and wearing tiaras) Ms. Skura has
a verbal acuity that cuts to the heart of what matters most to her. At the end she says "the
complicated seemed familiar.....now so strange........but really just different".
men copy the women and reverse roles with them the feeling is lonely, separate, and
I am still thinking.....and re-reading.... "The walls were held together with the thoughts
of the newborn, who are now older, and thinking other things," and I recall the vibrant
performances, especially from the women.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deborah Wingert