Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Polyglot Theatre, an Australian troupe, recently introduced their interactive work “Tangle” to New York City. Participants were given skeins of elastic ribbon and encouraged to weave them around 25 poles anchored on platforms. My daughter, Zoë, and I tied one end of thread to a pole and then Zoë danced with the unraveling ribbon as if at a May Day celebration. She handed the ball back to me and navigated her way through the increasingly dense web of elastic. As I followed her into the center of the structure, I held on to my ribbon like a modern-day Theseus. I looped it through other ribbons but didn’t completely let go of my elastic ball. Would I find my way out of the labyrinth without it?

Polyglot believes theater is “child’s play,” but the group also sees “Tangle” as a “metaphor of intertwining lives and intentions.” Of course, an obvious and positive interpretation of the entwined elastic is that we are all connected. But as I crawled and climbed through the net and tried to avoid getting caught, I considered the darker implications of entangling relationships. Yet, the ribbons stretched easily and never ensnared me. And when Zoë and I returned to the outside of the structure, she took the ball back from me and started dancing again. As she waved her ribbon, it rippled through the larger web where I’d looped it earlier and the other ribbons stretched and moved with it. I forgot any negative view of entanglement. When we are all connected, we all can dance.

July 29, 2012

Josie Robertson Plaza • Lincoln Center • Manhattan

photos by Adeet Deshmukh

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