A dancing bear in a laundromat: Grace Ellen Barkey’s ‘This door is too small’

I’m gonna keep this a short one. I’m a big fan of absurdities, lighthearted theatre and contemporary dance, and certainly if they’re all mixed during one performance. But what Grace Ellen Barkey put on stage for This door is too small (for a bear) unfortunately left me rather cold. Yes, that first part, a surrealist scene in a laundromat where everything comes alive and starts moving is fun to watch, but it takes too long. The second part, with Barkey’s six performers dancing and telling stories on an empty stage fails to become absorbing. And the third part? That decor with all those cutouts sure is impressive. Too bad that what is happening in between those ‘curtains’ just can’t measure up to that. Oh, and one last little detail. Linking this performance to the work of Joseph Cornell (and thereby justifying it; as is done in the brochure)? I’m wacko enough to have read every single book that’s been written on the work of this great and eccentric American artist. And I’m really sorry, but there’s no comparison.

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