Review: Pooja Ru Prema’s ‘Endure’ lights up the Green River
Great Barrington — Staged at a magical spot in the Green River, where the shallow waters cross back on themselves, Pooja Ru Prema’s latest performance piece, “Endure,” is a gorgeous experience. The piece spans the worlds of classical Indian dance, Martha Graham and Elvis Presley, and mobilizes tiny boats, lights, umbrellas, cymbals and kimonos in a series of beautifully crafted, arresting tableaux.
“Endure” invokes the sacred aura of ancient temple performance. Yet it is intimately accessible as Pooja dances, sings and mimes the universal themes of loving and letting go of love. Her accompanists include two musicians and one of the Berkshires’ most stunningly beautiful landscapes.
Pooja is a charismatic artist who is able to transform her body into many personae. She is almost waiflike singing and playing the ukulele, while elsewhere her small, lithe body seems to become a larger, more attenuated vehicle for the transmission of sacred knowledge. She wades and dances through the water, her kimono dragging and flowing. She sets tiny paper boats sailing into the river with fragile, flickering candles.
For nearly 10 minutes of her half-hour performance, it is her heavily outlined eyes that do most of the performing. From her chair set in the middle of the river, Pooja’s eyes tell us a love story using the vocabulary of facial expression, movement and gesture derived from classical Sanskrit theater of south India.
Pooja has created a deeply personal aesthetic that mines ancient and modern forms. It is challenging and wondrous and a must-see. You’ll have that opportunity from June 13 through 16, at 7 p.m, on the Green River at the corner of Seekonk Cross Road and West Plain Road. Admission is $15.