Only a lucky few will get to see an attic an exit, the duet created by Rachael Lincoln and Leslie Seiters. Be among them if you can. The long-time collaborators crafted the work incrementally between 2002 and 2006, with this restaging occupying ACT Lab’s intimate Lalie theater. Despite having been created elsewhere, the duo uses every inch of this space—walls and floor—as if Lincoln and Seiters’ strange white-painted twins had never existed outside of the darkness of this particular black box.
The duet unfolds like a mysterious dream where each image emerges to delight and intrigue. Coats suspended from the rafters allow their wearers to skip along the floor defying gravity, as if they might at any moment take flight. Two suitcases connected by string create a physical link between the dancers. A tangled mass of pearls is tossed on a fork like spaghetti. An almost vaudevillian, clownish feel permeates the work, perhaps from snippets of old-timey European-sounding music, but also due to their total exploration and integration of props. They perform with the objects like extensions of their bodies, the repurposing of each object unveiled like a magic trick.
As the piece progresses a motif emerges: the drawing of angular shapes. Using string, the two make an ever-evolving body-sized cat’s cradle. They slide saucers along the ground to create exacting boundary lines. They pour sugar on the floor in neat little white squares. The theme is also clear in their intertwined physicality. One mesmerizing duet uses angular limbs to create an interwoven puzzle of quickly shifting frames. Some images are the briefest suggestion of line, and other times the shapes arrive fully formed as doorways through which Lincoln and Seiters pass. Perhaps these are references to the titular exit.
While much of the pleasure of the piece stems from the cleverness in the choreography, Lincoln and Seiters’ seamless performance is the most satisfying aspect. They seem totally at ease in their bodies, as if it were just as natural to climb up a wall as walk across the floor. With an attic an exit, they have struck a perfect balance of precision, play, and masterful pacing that frames their choreographic images with an almost sacred aura.
an attic an exit played October 28-30, 2016 and continues this weekend, November 3-6, 2016, at ACT Lab. Tickets appear to be no longer available online, but standby tickets may be available by phone. More information HERE. Also visit Rachael Lincoln’s website and Leslie Seiter’s website for more information about the artists.