Photo courtesy of PrismCo.

Prism Splatters Audiences in West Dallas Warehouse

Prism is a dance/art/music/theater hybrid that's unlike anything else happening on the Dallas scene, and another step forward for this intriguing, growing company.

Big ideas with a big cast in a big warehouse—it’s the latest from movement company PrismCo. Founders Katy Tye and Jeffrey Colangelo first developed their company’s namesake show while students at SMU two years ago, and now they’re expanding and polishing it in a warehouse space/art gallery in Trinity Groves.

There are parts of the one-hour show that work—beautifully, even—and there are parts that still seem stuck in undergraduate training. Regardless, it’s a dance/art/music/theater hybrid that’s unlike anything else happening on the Dallas scene, and another step forward for this intriguing, growing company.

You are cautioned when buying tickets that there is a “splatter zone.” The first row is designated as such (and the formerly white plastic stools confirm that), but sitting further back doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe from the (washable) paint.

However, it’s a while before the primary colors start flowing. First the group explores the creation of civilization in the dark using primitive sound, bouncing flashlights, and flexible mirrors. It’s engrossing at first, then extends way too long. A signature of this show seems to be “do it once successfully, then do it four more times just to be sure.” There are magical moments where the light is manipulated just so, where the choreography (dance by Hope Endrenyi, hand-to-hand by Tye) works in tandem with the surroundings to truly fashion an emerging netherworld. But those moments are clouded by repetitive sequences that ultimately slow down the momentum.

The company moves from the dark, early days of creation to the wonder-filled journey into light, marveling at each other and their bodies, faces, and expressions. They shed their black clothes for white, prepping themselves as the canvas for the final stage of civilization: color.

Paint flows and drips from buckets suspended from the ceiling, is gathered in plastic bowls, and shot out of water guns (front row, you get to participate in this part). A large white canvas is taped down to the floor, where droplets and smears build the original painting that is created with each show.

Dressed in old clothes and ready to surrender to the promised Jackson Pollock-like experience, I was disappointed at the brevity and amount of paint. I was expecting to leave covered, a walking canvas. Instead I had a few blue splatters on my arm and a yellow blotch on my cheek. It was also unclear as to how much the audience was to participate in the free-for-all. We’re handed the water guns, but no one at my performance pulled the trigger until the very end. For as much audience participation as exists in Prism, a little guidance into this world would have been greatly appreciated.

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