When: Nov. 17-18, 8 p.m. 2014
Chris Black has made a name for herself among Bay Area choreographers for consistently delivering raw, unexpected performances that employ theatricality and wit. Now, she is presenting Phantom, Shadow, Spectre, Wraith at Ashby Stage (1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley) as part of the Shotgun Cabaret series. The show is a “Movement Theatre Experiment” featuring seven dancers. It involves a child vaudeville star, an aging showgirl, an octopus, and other “forgotten figures of the Bay Area” that Black encountered through historical research and reimagined for the show. In an email, Black described it as an “episodic mashup of recorded ragtime, live singing, movement, and text that creates a world in which time is permeable and the characters drift in and out of awareness of — and influence on — each other.” The piece explores the way that the past can haunt the present in surprising ways, collapsing histories into a magical present. “I’ve been thinking a lot about place history because of the changes the Bay Area is undergoing at the moment and how the layers of time settle on a place like layers of sediment,” she said. Phantom, Shadow, Spectre, Wraith will surely be an exciting and unorthodox excavation of the past.