The first full-length performance work from Goat Island in four years, “When Will the September Roses Bloom?” closes this year’s PAC/Edge festival on a powerful note. “September Roses” is a formidable piece of work. A plethora of structural principles vie for supremacy—the alphabet, the Fibonacci series, the classic dramatic plot—and each is undercut as quickly as it appears. Gaps in the alphabet are announced and followed consistently, while the missing beginning—well, you’ll have to see for yourself. Add to this complexity the twist that two different versions of the piece exist, containing the same material in a different arrangement, and keep in mind that source texts were penned by such lightweights as Paul Celan, Simone Weil (“vay,” not “while”), and Helene Cixous: the remarkable thing is that the performance maintains a playful energy throughout. Layerings of repeated movement and props that follow their bearers around long after their apparent exhaustion (a toy drum, a cardboard tabletop) lend the proceedings a dream logic that ends up trumping all apparent rational explanations. “September Roses” may be overstuffed with loose threads, and it could probably stand to lose fifteen minutes or so, but it offers the hypnotic fascination of a state-of-the-art performance. The James Taylor songs are gravy. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.