“If You Say You Real Age Out Loud, Your Face Hears You”
A Theater Review by Julinda D. Lewis
Presented by: The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company
At: The Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education, 11810 Centre Street, Chester VA 23831
Performances: November 19 – December 5, 2021
Ticket Prices: $35. $20 for students.
Theatre Company Info: (804) 452-7011 or http://www.illuminatedstage.org
Venue Info: (804) 748-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A retired woman hires a private dance instructor to give her lessons in her St. Petersburg Beach, FL condo while her husband is away. But wait – she already knows all the steps, and her husband is mysteriously never around. The first meeting between the caustic gay male dance instructor and the cautious wife of a Southern Baptist minister starts off on the wrong foot but over the course of six weeks secrets and lies are revealed and an unlikely intergenerational relationship develops.
SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS is funny and heart-warming, filled with hope and enhanced by a magnificent view, and I absolutely love Kelly Kennedy and Travis West as Lily “the tight-arsed old biddy” Harrison and her dance instructor Michael “I’m not crazy, I’m Italian” Minetti.
Week One – The Swing
Michael and Lily stumble over the facades they put up to keep people away. His foul mouth and her constraint are two sides of the same coin.
Week Two – The Tango
Michael continues to make up elaborate background stories for each dance style, but none as elaborate as the stories he and Lily make up as background for their own lives. The value of those coins is measured in units of bitterness and regret.
Week Three – The Viennese Waltz
Lily dons a pretty pink dress and brings out a sacher torte. Michael calls her out, “You don’t really need an instructor for the waltz, do you?” “No,” she replies, “but I do need a partner.”
Week Four – The Foxtrot
When Michael sees Lily he exclaims, “Cuban heels! Your seductive slut!” and Lily retorts, “If you say your real age out loud, your face hears you.”
Week Five – The Cha-Cha
The two venture out to dance. Lily wears a pretty blue gown and Michael sports a shiny blue patterned blazer. When Lily says, “People are alone because they want to be or because other people think they should be,” she directs her words at Michael, but they apply equally to herself. The list of loss and loneliness grows as new seeds of hope are planted. The coin of the realm has undergone a transformation.
Week Six – Contemporary Dance
The Pony, the Jerk, the Twist, the Hitch Hike, and the Monkey are unusual vehicles of deliverance, but they seem to get the job done. Speaking of job done, the six lessons have come to an end, but wait, there’s more.
Week Ten – Bonus Lesson
Secrets revealed, lies uncovered and forgiven, and lessons learned. Oh, not just dance lessons, but lessons about love, forgiveness, friendship, age-ism, sex-ism, intolerance, loss, and acceptance. The dividends yielded are priceless.
I would not describe SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS as a musical and yet the dancing serves the same function as the songs and music in a musical. I would not describe SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS as a Christmas show and yet it is ideal for this season.
After having seen the Illuminated Stage production of Every Brilliant Thing in September (see my review here: https://jdldancesrva.com/2021/09/21/every-brilliant-thing/), it seems that this company has a definite heart for telling stories that inspire, heal, and meet real, often unspoken needs. SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS does all of that and more.
SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS is directed by company Artistic Director Julie Fulcher-Davis with clear intent and a palpable tension between the two characters that achieves a sometimes uneasy balance of irreverent humor and genuine compassion. The intersection of the script, actions, and feelings are as unlikely as the friendship between Michael and Lily – and yet, through the magic of theater, it works.
SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS
Written by Richard Alfieri
Kelly Kennedy as Lily Harrison
Travis West as Michael Minetti
Directed by Julie Fulcher-Davis
Stage Manager: Leanna Hicks
Lighting Designer: Andrew Bonniwell
Set Designer: Vinnie Gonzalez
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Weiss Hopper
Light Board Operator: Leanna Hicks
Sound Board Operator: Matt Nixon
Backstage Crew: Alice Hallock, Samantha Robinson, and Isabella Koontz
Technical Advisor: Jon Shelley
Photographer: Dave Jones
About 90 minutes, with one intermission
Fri, Sat @8:00PM Nov 19, 20, 26, 27 and Dec 3, 4
Sun, @3:00PM Nov 21, 28 and Dec 5
$20 for students
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.click here to support rvart reviewclick here to support rvart reviewclick here to support rvart review