Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com iPad Edition

New!
Read ExploreDance.com on your iPad!
Only $0.99 per issue! No ads!
www.exploredance.com/subscribe.htm
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Marilynn Larkin
Justin Torres
Dance New York
Music and Dance Reviews
Performance Reviews
Dance-theater
Modern/Contemporary
multiple locations
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com

Third Rail Project’s “The Grand Paradise” Offers a Few Small Pleasures

by Marilynn Larkin, Justin Torres
February 16, 2016
The Grand Paradise
383 Troutman Street
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 374-5196
thegrandparadise.com
When planning a resort vacation, it’s easy to be seduced by websites and brochures replete with enticing images of sun, sand, water sports, pool bars and, of course, beautiful people. You make your choice and, filled with glorious expectations, can’t wait to arrive. But once you do, the reality turns out to be very different; instead of losing yourself in the quixotic and sensual tropical environment you dreamt of, you find yourself intrigued—but curiosity quickly gives way to boredom, and then irritation, to the point that you begin to wonder, “What am I doing here and when can I leave?” That’s how we felt by the end of Third Rail Project’s “The Grand Paradise,” an immersive theatrical experience purported to take place, according to the press release, in “those hazy and culturally liminal years of the late 1970s becoming the 1980s,” and held in a venue custom-built for the production.

The coauthors of this review are dance friends with different backgrounds, experiences and demographics. Neither of us had experienced immersive theatre before, and looked forward to the show with great anticipation. Yet we both ended up having the same reaction—a great idea, but missing something, and not really fun. Curious as to whether others shared this perception, we spoke with random audience members after the show. All had “mixed” reactions—despite the fact that, coincidentally, they all had participated in one or both of the two popular shows of this genre, Third Rail Project’s critically acclaimed production, “Then She Fell,” and Punchdrunk’s interactive “Sleep No More.”

Just as a strong core helps the body function well, a strong intention helps a show function well, driving every action, word and visual. A location in and of itself is not a driver; therefore, many of the actions/activities in “The Grand Paradise” felt inorganic and forced. Audience members, after being herded in groups, were directed to a bar, a beach, and a room with a wishing well. Occasionally, individuals were singled out and led to a private bench, bedroom, cabana, or—in the case of one of the audience members we spoke with—a coffin. It was unclear why certain people were chosen to experience one area but not another, and what they were supposed to do when they got there also was not clear.

From the outset, everyone was admonished not to talk unless spoken to, which made it difficult to speak up or stop if something felt uncomfortable. For example, the man in the coffin confessed that he was claustrophobic and that lying in the coffin with the lid closed for several minutes was very unnerving. Similarly, being encouraged to lie on a bed in a closed room while an actor (or actress) undresses in front of you, holds your hand and rubs your arm is titillating, but also somewhat uncomfortable. There was no clear sense of boundaries or who was setting them. After the show, we wondered if we could/should have tried to take these situations further—and what would have happened if we did? We also wondered how a vulnerable person might react in this kind of situation, and what safeguards, if any, were in place? One of us felt like he was pushed into the unwanted role of “boyfriend,” as cast members tried to immerse him in an environment of sensuality that, at times, felt stifling.

In the email sent out the day of the event, which talks about about food, alcohol and mandatory coat checks, it might have been worth adding a “stop” signal for people who decide they don’t want to participate in a particular experience or want to stop it when it no longer feels right. It also might have helped to state, in a positive, welcoming way, the goal of the production—what performers hope to provide as an experience, and perhaps a brief glimpse of what to expect. Rather than taking away from the show, that kind of objectification, delivered beforehand, might have enhanced it, and made us more willing participants.

From a dance perspective, the choreography was, unfortunately, almost depressingly monotone. The first time you see people moving erotically may stir feelings and imagination; but by the time you’ve seen similar contemporary-style moves by couples and groups, repeated in various situations, you’ve seen them all too often. This is too bad, because most of the performers moved well and could probably have handled more intricate steps. It also would have been nice to experience a couple of dances from the era.

On the positive side, the environments were well conceived and varied, with tropical plants, rock formations, tiki bar, sand, flowing water, authentic-style clothing and artifacts. The performers presumably tried their best to give visitors to their “home” an experience to remember—and they did, only not necessarily in the way they intended.
Roxanne Kidd

Roxanne Kidd

Photo © & courtesy of Darial Sneed


Tara O'Con and Joshua Reaver

Tara O'Con and Joshua Reaver

Photo © & courtesy of Darial Sneed


Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Jessy Smith and Erik Abbott-Main

Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Jessy Smith and Erik Abbott-Main


Edward Rice and Niko Tsocanos

Edward Rice and Niko Tsocanos


Niko Tsocanos

Niko Tsocanos

Photo © & courtesy of Adam Jason

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health