Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder

In Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder, Yasmeen Godder and The Bloody Bench Players summoned the power of art to filter and magnify events in real life. Taking inspiration from news photographs, the dancers animated scenes of torture and abuse, or underscored the fine line between emotions or states of being. A celebratory gesture of raised arms morphed into surrender and a plea for life. The dancers’ faces reflected tension, then fear and panic, the longer they held a pose. Captor became captive. Power, be it militaristic, sexual, or sometimes both, equaled pleasure. By the end, the performers had exhausted the normal limits of endurance, their red faces streaked with tears, their hair wild and clothing disheveled. In a gut-wrenching false ending, a woman cradled a man’s limp body as the rest of the cast took their bows, signaling that tragedy persists alongside daily life. Avi Belleli’s moody live music heightened the tension, and the set–partially unrolled lengths of wood-grained linoleum and a thicket of tumbleweed that disintegrated-perfectly and surreally encapsulated the current political clime.