Seen at Church and on the Dance Beat

The St. Bart's Players presented Godspell in the sanctuary of St. Bartholomew's Church, October 4-14, with a woman playing the role of Jesus. Directed by Christopher Presley, the show featured a live band. The lighting, by Douglas Cox, will be covered in-depth in a Lighting Dimensions Online Exclusive this month. The set design by Shawn Lewis was minimal and flexible; costumes, by Kimberly Glennon, were a funky mix of 1970s and 80s thrift store finds. The group used the space creatively and the red floodlighting during the crucifixion scene was dramatic and evocative.

Dance Theatre of Harlem presented its City Center season September 25 to October 7, with four new pieces by four different choreographers. Lighting was by resident designer Roma Flowers. Costumes were by Pamela Allen-Cummings, who has worked for DTH in various costume and wardrobe capacities for 21 years. Her designs, which featured clean lines and minimal embellishment on interesting fabrics, will be covered in depth in January 2002 Entertainment Design.

Australian Dance Theatre is touring Birdbrain, a modern deconstructionist take on Swan Lake, combining classical dance elements with industrial club energy, music, and design. Gaelle Mellis' costumes are mostly white T-shirts with words on them, ranging from characters' names (including shirts with "Odette" on the front and "Odile" on the back, plus a "Drama Queen") to thematic ideas like "Royal Disdain" and "Peasant Joy." Her set design features a back wall with antique illustrations of ballet dancers and a video screen in the center; Tim Gruchy is the video artist. Other set elements are metal lighting racks on each side of the stage in addition to regular rep plot lighting, plus footlights and fluorescent tubes. Lighting design is by Damien Cooper, with lighting realization by David Green.

Parsons Dance Company performed at the Joyce Theatre October 16-28, featuring the US premiere of Kind of Blue and the New York premiere of Annuals, both choreographed by David Parsons, and the world premiere of The Hunt, choreographed by former Parsons dancer Robert Battle. and The Hunt have costumes by company dancer Mia McSwain. Costumes for Annuals are by Judanna Lynn. Lighting for all new pieces is by Burke Wilmore, who started out as a downtown theatre designer, spent four years touring with Parsons as production stage manager, and is now a full-time lighting designer.

American Ballet Theatre is performing at City Center through Sunday, November 4. The season includes two world premieres: Clear by ballet wunderkind Stanton Welch, with costumes by fashion designer Michael Kors and lighting by Lisa Pinkham; and , with costumes by Zack Brown and lighting by resident designer Brad Fields. The company also unveiled a new production of , with scenery and costumes by Zack Brown and lighting by Natasha Katz.

Amy L. Slingerland

Seen and Heard at the Movies

Domestic Disturbance, a pat and predictable thriller directed by Harold Becker and starring John Travolta and Vince Vaughn.

There’s nary a surprise or twist you can’t see coming a mile away in this movie, which also stars Teri Polo, Matt O’Leary, and Steve Buscemi; even though the running time is only 89 minutes, it still drags.

Vaughn as Rick Barnes menaces his brand-new stepson (O’Leary) after he witnesses Barnes offing an unsavory "business associate" (read: jail buddy), played by Buscemi. Travolta plays big daddy convincingly (the movie’s promo line is the unthrilling "He will do anything to protect his family." Geez!). Vaughn is mostly tall and given to hackneyed lines like "You’re the best thing that ever happened to me" to Polo and "You’re not afraid of me, are you Danny?" to O’Leary. As usual, Buscemi is the best thing in the movie, but he exits pretty early. His clothing is pure straight-outta-jail wear: Ban-Lon shirts in creepy greens, a cruddy Naugahyde coat, high-water pants, and I could swear he had white Pee-Wee Herman shoes on. Costumes are by Bobbie Read.

The movie’s lighting was dark, even though it's supposedly set in a sunny vacation village (it was filmed in North Carolina); DP is Michael Seresin. Perhaps this was an attempt to "noirize" the flick; if so, it was not successful. Domestic Disturbance is, as ED/LD film editor John Calhoun put it at the screening, "a B-movie with a big budget." He might have added: boring. It opens today, November 2.

Liz French