Female friendship is so hot right now. On Comedy Central there’s the stoner duo of “Broad City,” on HBO the antagonistic “Girls” and Emily Gould’s fraught novel “Friendship.”
And at the Capital Fringe Festival this summer there’s “Everybody Knows This Is Now Here,” a modern dance performance built on the challenge of maintaining a female dance troupe when the women keep moving across the country.
It will shock no one that one destination is Portland, and theatergoers’ enjoyment of this show will likely correlate with their tolerance for all things twee. Chicken-raising and astrology are discussed. Retro bathing suits and rompers are worn.
A collage of Skype chats, home videos and live dance, the show is less a finished piece than a meta-commentary on its creation. The women discuss logistics, practice moves and trade ideas. Eliza Larson and Rachel Rugh, the dancers who appear in person, are shadowed on screen by Emily German and Annie McGhee. In one of the strongest bits, Rugh moves to instructions given by McGhee’s disembodied voice.
“Keep it simple,” McGhee says. “Don’t try too hard. You don’t have to make it funny. Make it funny.”
That just about describes the show, which shifts randomly from intense bits of dance to silly voguing and meditative beach walks.
The goofiness is refreshing, but musical interludes involving lots of costume changes and uninteresting movement feel too slight for their length. Some of the talk is poetic; some of it is just chatter.
Stronger scenes come from the monologues the women give about their relationships and their peregrinations. Living 700 miles apart themselves, Larson and Rugh explain, means their Mountain Empire group favors dances built for small spaces and predicated on good wireless connections. Larson recalls meeting Rugh at an audition and delivers what could be a tagline for this and many other tales of female bonding:“I thought we were friends for a really long time before she thought we were friends.”
It’s funny and sweet. Without trying too hard.
Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW,
July 15 at 9:45 p.m. and July 17 at 6 p.m.