Carmen Strikes Back

Carmen strikes back! Celebrating the start of our 15th Anniversary Season, we welcome the return of Ihsan Rustem’s smash hit CARMEN SEP 27-29, 2018 at the Newmark Theatre. Ihsan’s combines the iconic tale of betrayal, mayhem, and passion with his version of “The Stepford Wives” and 1950s Harper Bazaar silhouettes set in a hair salon and barbershop. His bold full-length work features original costumes from Portland fashion designer Michelle Lesniak and an inventive set from award-winning designer Luis Crespo.  The Oregonian chose CARMEN as one of their “6 arts picks for Portland-area arts events for Sept. 21-27,” and an Oregon Arts Watch review gushed “The premise of Sarah Slipper’s new dance Room 4 is quirky and appealing, in a how’s-she-going-to-do-that? way: to cross the cryptic playwright Harold Pinter with the over-the-top comedy troupe Monty Python, translate both into the world of dance, and see what happens…One of Slipper’s great strengths as a choreographer is her knowledge of what her dancers’ bodies can do and her ability to shape their motions in surprising ways. The four dancers in Room 4 move fluidly yet somehow also haltingly together, reaching, bumping, stacking, stretching against one another and the desks onstage, creating a bumptious action that at once goes all over the place and nowhere at all…In the end, the unstable balance between comedy and drama tips toward the dramatic, which lands the comedy a square one on the jaw. That would be Pinter, winning over Python in a TKO…The humor comes out to play more clearly in the second, longer portion of the program, the return of resident choreographer Ihsan Rustem’s Carmen, which is updated to the 1950s, complete with rockabilly impressions and a concentration on hair: a beauty shop for the woman dancers, a barber shop for the men. This Carmen was a delight when it premiered in 2017, and it’s a delight now.”