Some coverage of Make | Believe.
Oregon Arts Watch
"More important is the emotional “state” of each dancer, moment by moment, because their communication of sadness, frustration, humor, anger, aggression or concern is where the real meaning of the piece emerges. The four dancers (Philip Elson, Noel Plemmons, Molly Sides, Shannon Stewart) were perfect vehicles for those emotions throughout the piece. “Commitment” is too soft a word for their immersion in the dance. So, just as the music and movement interlocked, so did the dancers and the movement."
"Make/Believe is a story about the nature of human communication in all its forms, told in the abstract language of contemporary dance. The story lacks characters and a traditional narrative, but the story is made vivid and accessible through the performers’ sharp delivery of gesture and expression.
Hebert made a point not to explain the work in great detail, for the performance is intended to be interpreted by the viewer.
“I don’t want to relay too much,” Hebert said. “Early on, we wanted to focus on fantasy and how we use fantasizing as a way to cope in society.”"
"We’re expressing ourselves through more channels than ever before, but what are we saying? That might well be the question driving this riveting new contemporary dance work by Portland performance company Teeth, which debuts this week. In it, two men (Philip Elson and Noel Plemmons) and two women (Molly Sides and Shannon Stewart) embody the image manipulation, incessant chatter and selective hearing of the information age. . ."
Make/Believe investigates the limitations of verbal exchange, the psychology of fantasy and the human desire to manipulate the world and the people around us. On a stark stage, tangled in microphone cables, four dancers—Philip Elson, Noel Plemmons, Molly Sides and Shannon Stewart—explore themes of communication, connection, breakdown and physical experience through precise, visceral movement and partnering.
"Much has been made in the press of Teeth's "oral fixation" with movement ideas; all their works literally probe the interior regions of the mouth, sometimes with live video feed to give the audience a discomfortingly up-close perspective, frequently with the addition of the dancers' guttural vocal expulsions."
This show is a particularly good portal to newcomers or outsiders for a few reasons. Superficially, it is a brisk 55 minutes, with uncomplicated costuming and simple props used well -- standard microphones endowed with abnormally long cables. The show is also surprisingly accessable for such a deliberately challenging piece. A few genuinely funny passages emerge from a broader sarcastic tone that dovetails with the surrounding intensity and intimacy in a way that is better seen than described, and the original score is, like the dancers, not afraid to be beautiful and aesthetically rich while it distorts and confronts.