Fringe review: 'Colony'
By Rebecca Ritzel
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Given the Fringe Festival’s no-late-admission policy, it’s not unusual to spot a theatergoer approaching a venue at dead run. What’s far more unusual is to arrive at a performance space and find the artists running in place.
That’s the opening premise of “Colony,” this year’s Fringe offering from performance artist and dancer Kelly Bond, whose 2010 in-the-nude effort called “Elephant” garnered plenty of buzz. She’s back and at least wearing a leotard, as is her “Colony” collaborator Melissa Krodman. Doors are held for the performance until everyone’s ready to go inside the Caos on F art gallery. There are no seats inside the small, L-shaped space. You file in and find Bond jogging to the drone of a pleasant electronic score.
Like listening to minimalist music by Steve Reich, you slowly start to focus; noticing subtle shifts in movement becomes the show. Bond and Krodman run in sync; they run silently on their toes; they run with their feet moving in diagonals, like a trotting zebra. Both women wear long-sleeved, black-and-white-striped leotards and matching sneakers. Add matching red lipstick and short, punky hair, and they look like an American Apparel ad.
A few carefully chosen lines, seductively sung, provide a framework. “Just you and nobody else,” the artists repeat, spaced widely apart and engaging in identical stretching after all that jogging. Later, they smartly twist lyrics from “A Chorus Line,” singing, “We, are, singular sensations.” But they aren’t; they’re two of a kind.
Works like “colony” aren’t meant to have concrete meanings, but it’s pretty clear that Bond and Krodman intend for viewers to ruminate a bit on individuality. Maybe you came in a bit smug, proud to be one of the few Washingtonians who would pay $17 for an hour of performance art. If so, you’ll leave understanding that you’re not that special, but the money was well spent.