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La Ronde’ Provides Inspiration For The New Dance Cabaret Show ‘Tryst’

Choreographer Michael Mizerany talks about pushing boundaries

Photo credit: Michael Mizerany

Jake Bevill is the whore to Marty Dorado's priest in the dance piece "The Game" that is part of the show "Tryst" at Diversionary Theatre.

The controversial 1897 play "La Ronde" provides the inspiration for the dance anthology show "Tryst" that opens Jan. 10 at Diversionary Theatre.

Choreographer Michael Mizerany likes to focus on characters who are in a quandary or who are fighting against something. Diversionary Theatre provides the perfect venue and partner for his works.

"It’s very open," Mizerany said. "They let me come in and do what I want artistically, never have I gotten, 'Oh you can’t do that here.' It’s very freeing, they want to push boundaries and tell stories so I really love that."

Pushing boundaries is precisely what Mizerany wants to do with his new project "Tryst," a dance cabaret made up of six works by different choreographers but all inspired by the controversial play "La Ronde." The production is a partnership between Diversionary Theatre and Mizerany's own Compulsion Dance and Theatre company. He is the director and creator of "Tryst" and choreographs one of the six segments.

As for his source material, "La Ronde" provocatively depicted sexual encounters that crossed class boundaries and pointed out the moral hypocrisies of the day. Mizerany took the section of "La Ronde" called "The Count and the Whore" and updated it.

"It is updated to the priest and the whore so I am looking at things in religion, and even if you have the status and class, and someone is lower than you, one incident, one act can shift that power as we are seeing in real life now with people who are being caught in scandal and losing their power because of it," Mizerany said.

Jake Bevill dances the part of the "whore."

"I feel like this piece really examines the difference between conventional power like the status, money, rank in society as opposed to the things that you don’t want to have power over you, your desires, your needs, your addictions, all these things that will get the better of you if you don’t keep them in check," Bevill said. "So [Mizerany] kept that a lot but he went on a whole other tangent with it and we keep bringing it up in rehearsal like this is what the original meaning was but I think he managed to make it provocative for our time. My character basically has a relationship with a priest and this relationship gives him a little bit of power over him because the priest has a certain desire that only this person for whatever reason can satisfy and so even though the priest is a higher order, higher rank than the hooker, the hooker has the power over him because of what he does for his needs."

Marty Dorado is the priest to Bevill's whore in what Mizerany is calling "The Game."

"This particular gentleman that I invite he has a way of getting under the skin more and pushing my boundaries and constant push and pull of power," Dorado said.

Mizerany wanted to look at boundaries in "The Game."

"The boundaries of class and status, and the boundaries of how far each character will push each other to get what they want," he said.

Dorado compared it to a chess game where his character "almost sets the board game as I like it and how I want it and how it is going to stay the whole time but throughout the other gentleman finds a way to change it on me."

But it's a tug of war between the two characters.

"One person wants to push it further, one person wants to bring it back and be conservative about it and one wants to be daring," Bevill said. " And so that’s what these pieces [the three black boxes on the stage] are, the ever-moving pieces of a relationship that are constantly being pushed around, being slapped into each other. It’s aggressive it can be sweet and soft. I feel like any time I push he immediately pulls back and I push a little bit more and he pulls back and every time that I try to over power him he tries to regain control. It’s constantly no, no, no I am in control and then I slowly pull away and say no actually I am the one that is in control because you desire me you want more but you don’t realize that I can pull that out of you. When he realizes that I am back in control."

The physicality of the piece plays perfectly into Mizerany’s athletic style of dance.

"I respond to that viscerally," the choreographer said. "So when I see dance it’s what I respond to so when I see a dance piece that is very active it gets me in my gut and that’s what I want to do with my dances, not that I want people to be punched in the gut all the time though I think this new work is sort of a punch in the gut a little bit but so as you watch it you are leaning forward and not leaning back."

But when you set out to push boundaries you have to be prepared for a tug of war with some in the audience as well. That’s why Mizerany wants to prepare people for the fact that there is nudity in the show and it is recommended for adults only. So prepare to have your boundaries tested and maybe expanded with "Tryst."

"Tryst" has six performance running at Diversionary Theatre between Jan. 10 and 14.

The controversial 1897 play "La Ronde" provides the inspiration for the dance anthology show "Tryst" that opens Jan. 10 at Diversionary Theatre.

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