Footlights: Illuminating Richmond's Theater Scene

Performance fusion at K Dance. Plus, Spin, Spit & Swear and more.


Many types of performance fit under the big umbrella of “theater.” There are the standard plays and musicals, of course. But then there are the wacky hybrids that defy easy definition.

To wit: For one night only, the K Dance company will offer a performance mash-up called “Dance/Theatre -- Conversations” at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center. The production will feature four separate vignettes based on short plays that either spin into or are dominated by movement and dance.

Choreographer and K Dance artistic director Kaye Weinstein Gary has been interested in the interplay between theater and dance almost since founding her company 16 years ago. “I like to act as well as dance,” Gary says, “and these works developed out of my desire to speak on stage as well as move.”

This kind of mash-up also can introduce contemporary dance to audiences who are unfamiliar or intimidated by it. “For years, I’ve heard people say, ‘I don’t go to modern dance because it’s so abstract and I don’t get it,’” Gary says. “The movement in these pieces may be abstract but it grows out of and is grounded in the words.”

The short plays that make up “Conversations” were written by Wendy Wasserstein, Christopher Durang and Suzan-Lori Parks. The Jan. 21 performance is being directed by Billy Christopher Maupin.

By the way: Richmond’s newest theater company, Spin, Spit & Swear, also will offer a not-quite-traditional production soon in TheatreLab’s Basement space. For three nights starting Feb. 1, local favorites Matt Shofner, Audra Honaker and Durron Tyre will star in a concert version of “tick, tick … Boom,” Jonathan Larson’s only pre-“Rent” composition. Honaker won a Richmond Theatre Critics Circle award for her performance in a full production of the show staged in 2008. A replacement for the company’s tongue-tying name also will be announced during this run.

Running: Next weekend will be your last chance to catch TheatreLab’s “9 Circles” at The Basement. Firehouse’s “The Fourth Wall” stands through Jan. 30.

On deck: Carol Piersol’s 5th Wall Theatre is co-producing the family drama “Unexpected Tenderness” with Chamberlayne Actors Theatre, the underappreciated “professional theatre with a community heart.” Opening Jan. 24, the show furthers Piersol’s fascination with Israel Horovitz, the playwright whose “Line” has been running off-off-Broadway for more than 40 years.