Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Whispers of Angels

Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Whispers of Angels

Article excerpt

DAVID ROUSSEVE/REALITY BAM MAJESTIC THEATER NOVEMBER 28-DECEMBER 3, 1995 REVIEWED BY GUS SOLOMONS JR

David Rousseve is a special kind of triple threat: writer, actor, dancer. Though his skill at each is less than spectacular, his knock for staging and shrewd musical choices has landed his theater piece, The Whispers of Angels, impressively in the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival.

Rousseve combines text, music, and dance effectively. Furthermore, he markets his movement-theater to a dance audience, thus avoiding too-close scrutiny of the writing, which (funny opening monologue aside) is not deep. The narrative--a gay man dying alone of AIDS seeks the love of his abusive father--is calculated to push all our emotional buttons. Fortunately, the story does not reflect Rousseve's own situation. Ironically, that may partly explain why its appeal to our emotions is not altogether convincing. Because Rousseve is so robust, his plaintive gasp, "I'm dying; please hold my hand," as he stands vulnerably nude, draws attention to his acting technique and physical beauty rather than arousing our sympathy.

Yvette Glover, who narrates the tale of Rousseve's dream of father-love, is earth-motherly enough to rock the whole audience at once in her warm embrace. Lavelle Zeigler, the mean father, emerges from the audience dressed as a department-store Santa while Rousseve recounts climbing onto his lap at his part-time job to get the only tenderness he could from his dad, who'd later beat him at home. As Nina Simone, the father's favorite singer, croons (on tape), the dancers of Rousseve's company Reality, dressed in white pajamas by Carol Ann Pelletier, swing their partners into the air or press them overhead like rag dolls and clasp themselves in symbolic hugs. …

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