Our homes are our most treasured possessions but what happens when they consume our daily lives? Niche, produced by Jane Franklin Dance, explores relationships, home ownership, and ultimately the impact both have on our happiness. The show utilizes music, visual art, and contemporary dance in order to reveal a wildly creative account of a couple’s eventful existence.
The unique opening sequence reminded of a 1960s romcom complete with the sweetly simple sketches that graced the background to uncover the show’s central themes. Guitarist Cristian Perez lured me into a world of budding romance with each chord, and I was eager to see more.
As the cute young couple (Sean Miller and Leslie Noble) emerges, their gleeful movements abound. Jane Franklin did a remarkable job creating unique gestures to convey impassioned love, happiness, and joy. Bold, bright lighting also assisted with the depiction of a wide-eyed couple at the beginning of their journey.
New home ownership ignites a flurry of excitement for the already gleeful couple. Three nosey neighbors (Emily Crews, Carrie Monger, and Amy Scarinage) were my favorite feature of the performance. Their delightful dances and haiku-like dialogue, written by Ms. Franklin, served as the narrative of the show. Additionally, they were also responsible for scene changes implemented by impeccably fluid movements. The props were like an addition to the ensemble as they wove under the tables, twirling about with partitions.
Created, directed and choreographed by Jane Franklin
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Somber guitar cords and lighting hues reflected the result of accumulating too much time at home, and too many possessions. Overwhelmed, the couple, who worked from home, became suffocated by their togetherness and the demands of their dwelling. Will the couple rekindle their romance once more? Ms. Franklin utilizes live sketches and visual art projections to convey this message during reflective dance sequences.
At times, the visual art, while unique, distracted from the marvelous movements on stage. One of the most ineffective uses of the projections occurred during a sequence representing a woman at the peak of her career. The image of a woman with the world in her hand was not necessary. The bold choreography and narrative offered a more concise means to deliver the message. Conversely, during key moments, including a nightmare sequence where a daunting business presentation occurs, the slides offered comedic relief for the heavy subject at hand.
Ultimately, we, as an audience, realized there is a deep underlying message hidden within this amazing artistic display. How do we find joy within others and ourselves if the things we acquire offer our sole sense of comfort? \
Explore life’s simple pleasures, Niche urges us. How do you define comfort? When will you achieve ultimate happiness? Does it depend on things or does it come from within?
Niche provides an answer utilizing an insightful response with the use of creative elements allow this production to push performance limits. The bold lighting, choreography, costumes, music, and narrative reminded me that achieving genuine happiness connects us all.