by Chance Morgan
Ms. Horban’s fiery and impassioned performance was something quite memorable to behold. As the show’s own description in the program puts it, “Some may call it a circus performance, theatre or dance. Well, it’s all of them and none of them. A unique stream in the river of art.” These are certainly apt words to describe this piece.
As the performance begins, green light fills the stage and the driving, savage rhythms that form the core of the show’s soundscape are unleashed unto the audience. Ms. Horban’s costume, a leotard covered in multicolored sequins, along with green streamers strategically unfurled from hidden compartments, captures the show’s visual essence as demanded by the title.
Ms. Horban’s choreography incorporates a bold and eclectic variety of influences, from ballet, jazz and hip hop to acrobatics and pantomime. The sheer athleticism of her performance is not to be understated, given the complexity and intensity of her movements and the energy she maintains.
The story of “Resplendent,” which celebrates human beings in all their beauty, is artfully conveyed, no small feat for a non‑verbal work. Just as the humans embodied by Ms. Horban become more sophisticated, more cruel, or more joyous, the music evolves as well.
The music combines natural sound, gentle flutes, primal drumming, human voices, industrial sounds, electronica, sound effects, and more in an ever‑shifting, if somewhat overwhelming, tapestry of sound. The choreography and the music are so tightly and deftly linked that the music seemed like Ms. Horban’s dance partner, a living thing engaging with her, rather than simple sound.
Themes of control, growth, independence and human potential echo throughout “Resplendent,” especially in Ms. Horban’s pantomime. From humanity’s first successful fire to the conquest of kingdoms and the subjugation of others, many broad strokes of human history are depicted. Each musical movement corresponds with a particular moment or theme, and the transitions between each movement are smooth and neatly executed.
“Resplendent” certainly earns its title, even in instances when it seems to emphasize spectacle over precise meaning, as particularly aggressive music or especially eye‑catching acrobatics captivate the audience’s attention. Luckily, “Resplendent” has much more to offer the audience than flash and noise.
“Resplendent” is immediately engaging, constantly shifting, relentlessly intense, and thoroughly memorable, much like humans themselves can be.
Written and Performed by Oksana Horban
Oct. 18 at 7:30pm
Photo: courtesy of the production
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
CHANCE MORGAN is a writer and director currently based in New Jersey. He has worked for Dorset Theatre Festival, Northern Stage, and Bay Street Theatre. He is a graduate of Colorado Mesa University’s theatre program, and spends his time developing his screenplays and musicals.