Deborah Jowitt calls Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry’s Angel Reapers a “beautifully imagined and constructed theater piece.”
Here’s an excerpt of her review in Arts Journal: “What fascinates people about the Shakers—members of religious communities that settled in New England in the late 18th century, proselytized, expanded, and began to wither a hundred or so years later? We marvel at the austerely beautiful furniture they made, their ingenuity, and the fact that they considered drawing, singing, and dancing gifts from God that were to be practiced freely and diligently—all that and more, but what seems to boggle many contemporary minds is that Shakers were celibate.
Doris Humphrey barely hinted at underlying sexual tensions in her ecstatic 1931 dance The Shakers. The Finnish choreographer Tero Saarinen downplayed them in his glorious Borrowed Light (2004). Watching Angel Reapers, which plays at the Joyce Theater through December 11, you get the impression that for its greatly gifted creators, director-choreographer Martha Clarke and playwright Alfred Uhry, Shaker dancing—whether wild or formally patterned—was a sublimation for the erotic physical exertions that the community members denied themselves.”
Read the full article here.
The New Yorker’s Joan Acocella says the show “refuses to limit itself to either realism or vision.”
“Martha Clarke’s movement-theatre pieces have sometimes been heavy on eroticism, with good-looking people sitting around naked on the stage. And, as is often the case with sexy shows, they have tended toward the deluxe: panties, poetry. Now, in collaboration with the playwright Alfred Uhry, Clarke has made another show about sex, “Angel Reapers”—it débuted at the Joyce this week and runs through December 11th—but this one is abstemious.”
Angel Reapers continues at The Joyce through Dec. 11. Purchase tickets here.