Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Monday, March 2, 2015

Under the Tangle: A Review by Alex Greenberg

In Under the Tangle, audiences accompany a young orphan on her journey through a mysterious and spellbinding labyrinth. Using dance and stagecraft to tell her story, Emily Bunning, co-founder of the Treehouse Shakers, boldly reinvents the fairytale genre. She tells a visually driven tale of love and self-discovery that will charm and entertain the entire family.
Ashley Chavonne, as the orphan. Photo credit by Dan Ozminkowski.
While eight-and-up usually suggests content that is too mature for infants and too puerile for adults, Under the Tangle is a show with multiple lenses; one can choose to explore the symbolism and social complexities that permeate the storyline or one can simply sit back, engage the senses, and be drawn into the magic of the labyrinth. What is more, both experiences are equally rewarding.
Trey Mitchell as the Bird-Boy, photo by Cherylynn Tsushima
As the lights dim to a soft orange, we watch the orphan’s parents dance away into a fire. The sound of crackling flames in the background and the orphan’s wistful dance introduce us into the mind of director, Emily Bunning. We watch as the orphan, performed by the incredible Ashley Chavonne, falls into a deep slumber and awakens moments later in a forest, seemingly alone. As she begins to explore this new and strange landscape, the orphan comes across a jaunty bird, played by Trey Mitchell. The actors masterfully embody the affectionate relationship between the two; the orphan, scared and shy, and the bird, eager to have a new friend in his life.

Using the Queen's sleeves to create the labyrinth. Photo Credit by Cherylynn Tsushima
The two characters dance and twirl each other all the way into the depths of the woods. It is here that the mysterious woman in green, performed by Miranda Wilson, awaits with her two underlings (Ashley Ervin and Katie Montoya) for the orphan’s arrival. A visual triumph of the show, the underlings unravel their leader’s long, vine-like sleeves into what becomes a boundless labyrinth. They persuade the orphan to enter and everything changes. Suddenly, Emily Bunning’s creation becomes electrified. We follow the orphan and the bird in their frantic journey to make it out of the maze as they battle the forces trying to separate them. Combining modern dance and ballet with innovative costumes and stage design, Emily Bunning expands the two-dimensional stage into it’s a world of its own.
The Treehouse Shakers remind us that when we lose a loved one, we need not feel lost ourselves. When we are forced to say goodbye to those we care about, they do not fall into darkness, but remain as a light and guide within our hearts. Come with your kids and get a front row seat to the artistic triumph called Under the Tangle.
About Alex Greenberg

Alex Greenberg is a 16-year old aspiring poet. His work has been published or accepted for publication in over 20 literary journals, such as: Grist, The Cortland Review, Spinning Jenny, Able Muse, and decomP, among others. He was the recipient of the 2014 46er prize from the Adirondack Review and the 2014 Critical Pass Review Junior Poets Prize. Additionally, he is a four-time runner-up in the Cape Farwell Poetry Challenges, a Foyle Young Poet of 2012 and 2013, and a recipient of a gold key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. He loves tennis, ping-pong, and the Zagat food guide. You can find out more about Alex at his website:  

Under the Tangle Credits:
Conceived, Choreographed, and Directed by: Emily Bunning
Performers: Ashley Chavonne, Ashley Ervin, Katie Montoya, Trey Mitchell, Miranda Wilson
Costume by: Patti Gilstrap
Lighting by: Dan Ozminkowski
Music by: Martyn Axe
Set Design by: Ioannis Sochorakis
To Read More About Treehouse Shakers, Check Out our Website