Graphic

“Neither rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Fringe performers from the swift completion of their appointed performances.” This motto, adapted from the Postal Service, could easily be applied to Pones Inc.’s latest Fringe outing.

Share on Nextdoor

“Neither rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Fringe performers from the swift completion of their appointed performances.” This motto, adapted from the Postal Service, could easily be applied to Pones Inc.’s latest Fringe outing. Inspired by Artworks murals in Over-the-Rhine (OTR), Graphic is a dance and storytelling piece that interfaces with several murals. Audience members are guided through the streets of OTR where they come upon Pones dancers who perform a work inspired by a nearby mural. Along the way they also meet an array of OTR residents who offer perspectives on the changing dynamics of the community.The post office motto is apt because it rained during Wednesday’s opening performance. Hard. It was during the “#ThisisOTR” piece in front of the Energy & Grace mural at 12th and Vine streets, and I wanted to give a standing ovation to performers Darnell Pierre Benjamin, Ian Forsgren, Kim Popa and Domonique Trader. Not only did they do a wonderful performance for four dancers and two pieces of Plexiglas, they did it during a pretty severe downpour. (I was already standing when I saw the piece, so it wasn’t possible to give a standing ovation at the end. But they deserved it.) Pones’ pieces tend to be vast in their design, heavy with meaning and large in their casts. That describes Graphic. I counted at least 25 performers during the final curtain call in front of the “Lookin’ Good” mural on the north façade of Know Theatre. Since each piece had a different writer, director or choreographer, there was unevenness to the show as a whole. Some pieces — “#ThisisOTR,” “Where Creation Has Been Drawn” (a solo piece using sunflower seeds) and “Martha, the Runner, The Slider, The Brick” (a piece connecting the extinct passenger pigeon with the shootings of African-Americans by the police) — all worked and were powerful and well-executed. Other pieces, like “Her,” were muddled. It was performed below the Vine Street mural “Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat,” and Tarbell’s image represents the patriarchy that the three women in the piece fight against. The connection with the mural, a big white guy towering over the women, was not immediately apparent. The penultimate piece Antiviral Age was trying to use video to show the various forms of social media. There was too much daylight for the video to be visible, so it was more of a distraction than an aid to the performance.At various stops along the route the audience heard OTR residents speak about gentrification and the impact on diversity in their community. The fit between these stories and the murals could have been clearer. Some speakers had interesting stories to tell, such as Melissa Mosby, who was homeless, slept in the doorway of Know Theatre and was befriended by the Know staff. I would have loved to hear more about her story and how it fit into what was being said through the murals.Graphic offered a fascinating tour of OTR. It’s not for everyone, since it’s outdoors and involves walking from Know Theatre to Washington Park, then Downtown and back. If you choose to go, I would advise bringing the following items with you to make your theatrical experience worthwhile: comfortable shoes, a rain poncho or umbrella (just in case), water bottle, sunglasses and sun screen — and an open attitude. You will thank yourself and enjoy the experience more fully.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.