Reviewed by Steve Sucato
For its sophomore effort, fireWALL Dance Theater embarked on a unique project. The resident dance company at Carnegie’s Off the Wall performing-arts center created a companion dance-theater piece to the Liz Duffy Adams play Or, now being staged by Off the Wall’s acting troupe. Adams’ Or, tells a fictional story of 17th-century British poet, spy and playwright Aphra Behn’s efforts to write a play while constantly being interrupted by a trio of lovers. fireWALL’s Uproar turns that premise inside-out using a similar setting and characters to tell the tale in dance of an author whose fictional characters complicate her efforts to write their stories.
The author’s other characters first appeared in nondescript leotards, then as the work progressed donned costumes, hinting at their station and their relationship to the author, who doubled as the heroine in her own story. A royal lover, a lesbian lover and a long-lost lover all vied for the heroine’s affections, leading to a few heated makeout sessions that sent pulses racing.
Uproar‘s primary allure however, came from Alaio herself. The Point Park grad’s vibrantly athletic choreography was thick with gesture and beautifully nuanced, and her passionate acting and dancing in the role of the author/heroine was a triumph. Also notable was the over-the-top performance of Luke Paulina in drag as a flamboyant dramaturge come to help the struggling author.
A solid effort by all involved, Uproar proved an unexpected holiday treat.
fireWALL Dance Theater’s Uproar continues through Jan. 11. Off the Wall PAC, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $5-25. 888-718-4253 or insideoffthewall.com
This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper on December 31, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.