Sunday, April 11, 2010
We just returned from Jeanne Ruddy's dance concert series "A Decade of Dance" at the Wilma Theatre. The series included three mini-shows from Ruddy's past performances: Significant Soil, Breathless, and LARK. It was beautiful to watch truly committed dancers take on challenging choreography and characterization, but I have to give a special shout-out to my friend Meredith Riley Stewart.
Meredith and I were cast as doubles in "The Ibsen Project" (Philly Fringe Festival, 2009), but I didn't really get to see her dance because (being doubles) we were always attached and moving together. Plus, the choreography in that show, while beautiful, was more improvisation than actual dance. So, seeing Meredith move today was...well...moving.
In Breathless, Meredith portrays a young mother whose husband convinces her to sign a life insurance policy, and then he murders her (drowns her!) to collect the money. He also runs off with a stripper. What a plot.
I don't know if it was because I'm pregnant or what, but seeing her joy and strength at the beginning of the piece was so emotional for me. She portrays the happiest, most loved woman. The audience knows that she's going to die, and you can clearly watch her confidence in her husband erode as she begins to piece his lies together. The character's journey is built around movement, of course. But, Meredith brought something extra to the table through deep-rooted emotion that surfaced through facial expression and physical quality. It was truly stunning to watch.
Way to go, Meredith! And congratulations to the entire JRD company for such a committed performance. It was beautiful.