Category: news - 2013.01.23

On Behalf of Nature

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble are naturally enrapturing

Bohdan Hilash, left, Ellen Fisher, Meredith Monk, John Hollenbeck, Katie Geissinger, Bruce Rameker, Sidney Chen and Allison Sniffin perform in Monk's newly created musical-theater work, "On Behalf of Nature," at the Freud Playhouse on the UCLA campus in Westwood on Jan. 17, 2013. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Bohdan Hilash, left, Ellen Fisher, Meredith Monk, John Hollenbeck, Katie Geissinger, Bruce Rameker, Sidney Chen and Allison Sniffin perform in Monk’s newly created musical-theater work, “On Behalf of Nature,” at the Freud Playhouse on the UCLA campus in Westwood on Jan. 17, 2013. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Meredith Monk — composer, pioneering vocalist, choreographer, dancer, theater maker, filmmaker, mythmaker — has long been an art-world force of nature. Now Monk, 71 and with a rapturous new work, is Mother Nature. If you don’t find that formidable, then perhaps I could interest you in a fixer-upper on the New Jersey shore.

The title is “On Behalf of Nature,” and the first performance was Friday night at the Freud Playhouse on behalf of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, which commissioned it. Every one of its enrapturing 73 minutes was a minute well spent.

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Her designer, Yoshio Yabara, made costumes out of each performer’s old clothes, not that you would know it. They all seem of an elegant piece, whether the frilly black numbers early on or the more casual light linen look later. There is a video backdrop of faint oscillating graphics that sometimes seems sea-like or biological.

latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-meredith-monk-review