Ink Boat
“These Are the Ones We Fell Among”
Nov. 7, 2021 4 pm
ODC Theater. San Francisco

Existential Event

“Existentialism: concerned with existence, especially human existence as viewed in the theories of existentialism.”

Program notes tell us: “These Are the Ones We Fell Among” grapples with elegance in the face of extinction, looking for humor and grace amid excrement, entropy, fear and fury. Performed by Shinichi and Dana Iova-Koga, with music by composers Carla Kihlstedt and Shahzad Ismaily, lighting by Allen Willner and scenic elements by Amy Rathbone. Conceived and directed by Ann Carlson in collaboration with inkBoat.

Two human persons, trapped and transforming, enjoying an endless loop of abstractly absurd tender tomfoolery. “These Are the Ones We Fell Among” takes inspiration from the movements, myths and metaphors of our endangered animal cousins, persons called by other names, like “elephant.” Conceived, choreographed, written and directed by award-winning interdisciplinary artist Ann Carlson in collaboration with inkBoat. It is an evening length work reminiscent of Samuel Beckett and Dr. Seuss.

I quote all of the above data since it makes the intention for this performance clear and elegant. But, alas, for this reviewer, who has studied and staged works by Samuel Beckett, he does it better, clearer, and shorter. (See “Act without Words” by Beckett.)

One must appreciate and respond to the synchronicity and intimate responses that occur between performers Shinichi and Dana Iova-Koga. Their speech (though often unheard) echoes and unites their statements, so that the words become unnecessary. Their activity, ducking under cover, climbing ladders, leaning against one another and wandering the stage are all in marvelous synchronicity. This reviewer especially appreciated Ms. Iova-Koga’s elegant movement liquidity. She is a joy to watch.

The events (“movements/ myths, metaphors”) are many and well executed. Perhaps there are just too many. Although this reviewer appreciates the concepts, skill and execution of the performers, it becomes delightful when the scene movers enter and leave the space. Their calm, simple activity reminds us that we do “go on”.

Joanna G. Harris (