Sunday, July 06, 2003
Monday, June 02, 2003 ... The Vulgar Boatman
ZEN BUTOH - Don McLeod's Butoh Theatre is unlike anything you have experienced. He is a dancer of such exquisite expressiveness, but what is it he is expressing? Something tender, ineffable, spontaneous, mysterious. You have to see him to know. A student of Kazuo Ohno ,Marcel Marceau, Etienne Decroux, Jerzy Grotowski and Sankai Juku, McLeod is a genius in his own right. And a helluva nice guy.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
ENTERTAINMENT TODAY MAGAZINE
Behind the Mirror - The Fremont Center Theatre ..... by Jose Ruiz
This is no ordinary theater piece. Don McLeod's solo Butoh performance falls into a genre of its own, being more a uniquely surreal avant garde expression engulfing the audience in various moods. The program notes describe Butoh as a rebellious Japanese dance form started in the '60's -- originally called Ankoku Butoh, the dance of darkness. McLeod has taken it to a level that evokes a variety of reponses. To some, his portrayal of an elderly Japanese woman evolving into a young geisha then into a samurai could mean life, and to others hope. His incredible fluidity of movement recreates an interpretation of the pre-historic beings seen in the film 2001, as they emerged from beast to man, and when he shows us antedluvian reptiles morphing into humans, it is eerily convincing. Some could regard this as a visual recitation of Darwin; others would swear it's Genesis redefined.
From woman to beast to lover to dying man, every characterization, movement and grimace seems both studied and spontaneous. We feel we are sneaking a glance into his inner thoughts, yet he lets us share the moment, and we wonder what will come next.
Every so often, McLeod glances into a small mirror, perhaps hinting that his characterizations reflect our lives -- perhaps urging us into self examination. Toward the end, he flashes the mirror's rays to the crowd, and we wonder if it might not be his own private joke leading us down a path of his own invention.
Adding to the sentient mood, the musical background throbs and pounds unusual rhythms that compliment, echo and enhance the movements. McLeod has an impressive resume of film and television performances where he created animal impersonations. His Butoh work in progress merits serious attention as it is far beyond the standard bill of fare.
"McLeod's voiceless, primal drama is beautiful . . ."
"McLeod is a master of movement ... A living tabula rasa. "
LA Weekly Magazine
"The first Westerner I've seen, who performs with the same intensity as that of
butoh's founder, Hijikata. McLeod creates a medium of primal connections......
an unforgettable evening of butoh."
Mitsui Greenland Theatre
"As the best movement artist we've seen . . . he reflects
a warm and winning personality which completely captured
the attention of the sold-out concert series finale."
Washington State University
"His performance at UCLA provided an evening of
artistry rarely seen in live theatre today . . . great ambient
music and dance drama that makes one think.
There were no seats left . . . and the audience hung
on his every move . . ."
Los Angeles Free Press
"McLeod is a creative genius. He has taken a unique
art form and updated it into something of rare beauty."
The Newhall Signal
"Excitingly different . . . we were thrilled to have
Don McLeod on the show."
NBC's Today Show
"McLeod is reminiscent of Kazuo Ohno."
Los Angeles Times
"The best I've ever seen . . . Thanks for a great show."