“I go in the room;—
I bang my fists on the wall…”
Ascent features the talents of dancer Adam Kerbel and Taiko drummer Shih-Wei Willie Wu in a fusion piece that displays more ambition than articulation. Its intention is to illuminate “the threats that aggressive masculinity plays on the psyche”; a noble goal that it falls short of doing. Kerbel’s presence is wildly kinetic but without clarity, Wu’s drumming is impressive, but without integration.
Both performers attempt to interject biographical elements into the evening but their stories lack cohesion. We do not see how they relate to each other, nor to the theme.
And there is the overall problem with the offering; the individual elements are left dangling.
Kerbel has a good opening, Wu sits in the audience and chats about loneliness, Kerbel has an emotional moment about “beating” walls, Wu displays his Taiko skills (the high-point of the evening), Kerbel interprets a soldier in combat, and there is a nicely worked homoerotic interlude.
What is lacking is the connection between those segments and the stated theme, or the “language” to communicate the artist’s objective to the audience.
Also, bit of advice, even if it is the preview show, do not have a production photographer sitting in the house busily snapping shot after shot. It is very distracting for an audience and very rude to an audience.
Ascent is performed by
Adam Kebel and Shih-Wil Willie Wu
Collaborator / Designer is Brandon Baruch
Studio / Stage
520 N. Western Ave.
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