When a dance troupe like Control Group -- an independent organization known for its avant-garde movement and theater -- takes on classical romanticism, don't expect whatever you were expecting. That's because Control Group mastermind Patrick Mueller has a habit of turning things evocative in ways one can't anticipate. And Salon Romantik: Wanderers in the Sea of Fog, which opens tonight for a two-week run, goes a step further by adding the theatrical depth of a haunting score by sound wizard Brian Freeland and shape-shifting costumes by local designer Tricia Hoke. It's Control Group's inaugural work in the new Work | Space performance space it shares with Freeland and the LIDA Project, and it's very ambitious.
More of a narrative piece than past works, Salon Romantik is designed, Mueller says, to project "ethos over intellect"; visual and ambient, "the result is by turns luscious and deconstructed melodrama," he adds. "It's different from anything we've made. There are characters who mutate, but with a continuous narrative that we'll probably lay out in a libretto for ease of access. With the simple clarity of saying, 'This is the plot,' it takes away the nagging questions people always ask: 'What is going on?' and 'Why are they doing that?'" There's also, Mueller warns, a reference or two to Nijinsky's groundbreaking choreography for Afternoon of a Faun, which pop up in a scrumptious set he describes as a "floating forest" of tree trunks hanging from the ceiling.
See Salon Romantik at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through April 28 at Work | Space in the Laundry on Lawrence, 2701 Lawrence Street. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door; go to www.controlgroupproductions.org for details.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: April 20. Continues through April 28, 2012