Starting From Scratch
by the members of the From Scratch company
Reviewed by Robert Viagas
A new multidisciplinary performing arts company calling itself From Scratch lifted off September 14 with a starburst of ambitious creativity. The inaugural gala showcase, titled Starting From Scratch, rolled out twenty-six original drama, dance, song and instrumental segments at the Ballet Arts Studio at Manhattan’s City Center.
Overseen by artistic director Robert Liebowitz, the twenty original company members performed the work of eight writers.
- Gritty life among New York’s struggling class amid the dangers and discomforts of the public transportation system was turned into an exuberant ensemble dance in “The Subway at Night,” staged by company choreographer Albena Kervanbashieva.
- Kervanbashieva herself took to the boards to demonstrate From Scratch’s social consciousness with “Rhino, White Rhino,” in which a member of the endangered species fled from, then triumphed over, ruthless hunters.
- The generation gap was dramatized in Liebowitz’s playlet “Seven Scenes of Grande Grande Blah Blah Blah,” in which an older man (Jerry Lewkowitz) came into conflict withyoung woman (Weronika H. Wozniak) over coffee while a sardonic barista (Zack Rickert) headed toward a breakdown.
- “Queen of the Day,” a madrigal by D. Sanborn III, was sung and danced by Walter Dortch, Monique Romero, Jordan Davis and Samantha Randolph, as choreographed by Davis.
- Composer Tim Horace offered an elegy for the loss of a child in his instrumental “Murmurs of the Innocents.”
- Although the work of eight different composers were featured in the program, Starting From Scratch provided a special showcase for company musical director Stephen Cornine, who also served as composer, arranger, and pianist for the evening. Among his nine compositions s were the duet “Roses Bloom,” “Brand New,” and no fewer than three holiday tunes, “Christmas Coming Soon,” “On A Midwinter’s Day” and “Aftermas.”
For the record, other performers in the original multi-disciplinary multi-ethnic company include, Daniel Dunlow, Izzy Durakovic, Michael Durso, Charlotte Hagstrom, Helen Jiexin Cai, Valerie Johnson, Jordan McCallister, Teddy Montuori, Donna Morales, Alehia Renee, Michael Romeo Ruocco, Nana Tatebayaski.
Starting From Scratch played a single performance September 14 at the City Center in Manhattan. As for the future, the company is lining up a 2019-2020 season that includes Cornine’s Mirror Mirror, Liebowitz’s Last Night I Dreamed of Paul McCartney, and Martin Goldberg’s Tumble Blindly.