The show called "And Still the Sun Rose" -- currently being offered by the Rep, Inc., at their Georgia Avenue studio -- falls so interestingly into the cracks separating dance, musical theater and morality play that despite some serious shortcomings the experience remains both rousing and provocative.
The only words heard are the occasional lyrics from recorded musical numbers by Stevie Wonder, Midnite Express, Pink Floyd and others, which serve as the aural backdrop to the action. Otherwise, the actors of the sizable cast communicate entirely through facial expression and movement, ranging from natural and mimetic gesture to sundry pop, ethnic and modern dance idioms.
In this form, the show -- conceived, choreographed and directed by Sadiqua Pettaway -- is something like a silent movie updated by the throb of contemporary black rhythms.
The production is divided into 12 scenes encompassing such diverse material as a rustic wedding, a shopping spree, a nocturnal jamboree and a church sermon.Within these outlines there's a central plot concerning a young woman, her marriage, her sexual indiscretion and its tragic consequences; some lesser characters provide comic relief. All of this is enframed, at the same and finish, by mythical or dream tableaux that strive toward a more "universal" significance.
Pettaway's canvas is broad and densely populated -- perhaps too densely. At times the gyration is so frantic and so many layers of activity clamor at once for attention that the focus is all but lost. Too often, also, the movement becomes repetitiously enslaved to the music. What holds everything together in the face of such drawbacks is the radiant magnetism of the cast and Pettaway's real imaginative gifts.