One Speaks, Two Don’t

by on February 26, 2015

    Dances are typically choreographed to tell a story. Even the most abstract ideas and concepts can find a home in movement. This idea came to Ira Glass, host of NPR’s This American Life as he watched dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass perform. The show, appropriately called “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host” is a performance based entirely in recounted stories of the radio host, the dancers and a variety of interviews from the radio show.

    In this stage production Glass and the dancers bring together human moments in three acts of varying themes: life as a performer— as told by the dancers themselves; falling in love and maintaining relationships; and the recognition that nothing lasts forever. The stories are rarely about life-altering moments or epiphanies. On the contrary, they run in the lukewarm range of very human moments of awkwardness, the quotidian, and the unremarkable.

   For audiences of differing mediums, the show really has something for all. “What makes it work is a shared sensibility,” Glass says. “As dancers, Monica and Anna are these amazingly relatable and funny storytellers without words.” Anna Bass, one of the dancers, shares the sentiment: “I think it’s still blowing Ira’s mind to see some of the radio pieces remade this way, with props and costume changes and lighting cues.” Like watching a favorite book come to life onstage, “Three Acts” brings visibility to the emotion and intention in our stories.