By: Steven Heller | July 1, 2010
Pilobolus Dance TheaterDance Theater‘s main event this past week at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College was a new work called “Hapless Hooligan in ‘StillMoving,’ ” It was created by Art (“I know nothing about dance”) Spiegelman and choreographer Michael Tracy, one ofPilobolus’s artistic directors, in collaboration with thecompany’s dancers. Spiegelman talks about the process of making tableau vivant from comics here.
“Neither at Pilobolus nor anywhere else haveI seen this kind of dizzying overlap of cartoon, film, silhouettetheater, and live dance,” wrote Alastair Macaulay on June 28 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 dreamlogic, the clowning, the sense of physical liberation that’s only attimes highly sexual, and the defiance of categorization.”
Hapless (or Hap) is based on Fred Opper’s Happy Hooligan, but also Charlie Chaplin‘s little tramp. He’s a “Little Fellow” who is in love,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 bythe dancers as silhouettes. The silhouettes and cartoons appear inthe same frame and interact.