The Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival and Small Pond Enterprises LLC presented the New York Premiere of Dad Doesn't Dance, a new solo noir piece written and performed by Nora Brown. It opened July 12th and is closing today. Directed by Karen Case Cook, Dad Doesn't Dance tells the story oF Brown's search for her biological father and in turn her identity.
Running fifty minutes with no intermission, Dad Doesn't Dance is a somewhat entertaining piece. It has its great moments. It does. Nonetheless, it leaves you wishing it had gone further. To Ms. Brown's credit, she wrote an overall touching piece. It had some funny moments in it, really funny moments. I consider that a victory, because frankly its hard for any writer to be funny. Now try being funny when writing wasn't your first trade. (She began her career as a professional dancer.) Ms. Brown did a good job finding the lighter points in an emotionally draining search for her biological father. At times though, I was hearing more about what she was doing instead of how she was doing. This was a theme that would pop up in the show often.
Director Karen Case did a commendable job giving the piece a noir look, even though the show itself hinted at noir as opposed to being an actual noir. I did thoroughly enjoy Ms. Case's collaboration with her production team to create space and time in a minimalist setting. It allowed Ms. Brown's piece to speak for itself. Ms. Case also did an elegant job of handling the thrust stage, allowing each side of the audience to participate in the intimacy of the piece.
In regards to her acting, there were times that Ms. Brown was playing at a feeling as opposed to experiencing it. Her strongest acting was ironically any point of the show where she relied on her physicality. Excellent examples include her tango scene and the chair dance of the obese union leader.
Dad Doesn't Dance is an Equity Showcase. It's played some prestigious festivals, but still needs work. As this piece grows, I would like to see Ms. Brown either take on a more natural acting style or completely embrace her physicality. After all, she is a former Principal Dancer for the National Ballet of Canada. For more about the project and its future, check out Ms. Brown's website at www.norabrown.net.