The Hapless Dancin’ Spiegelman

Dance Theater
‘s main event this week at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College was a new work, “Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still
Moving,’ ”  by Art (“I know nothing about dance”) Spiegelman and choreographer Michael Tracy, one of
Pilobolus’s artistic directors, in collaboration with the
company’s dancers.  Spiegelman talks about it here.
“Neither at Pilobolus nor anywhere else have
I seen this kind of dizzying overlap of cartoon, film, silhouette
theater, and live dance,” wrote Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times. “And yet it also picks up on, and refreshes,
aspects of Pilobolus that have been there since the beginning: the dream
logic, the clowning, the sense of physical liberation that’s only at
times highly sexual, and the defiance of categorization.”
Hapless (or Hap) is based on Happy Hooligan,
but also to the ro
le Charlie Chaplin. He’s a Little Fellow who loves
but whose girl is also pursued by a man who’s twice his size and a bully. “Mr. Spiegelman could have told it entirely in cartoon terms,” adds Macaulay. “That,
however, would have been a smaller and simpler piece.” The story is told as a comic enacted by
the dancers as silhouettes. The Silhouettes and cartoons appear in
the same frame and interact.