Paul Outlaw
Tov postcard.png


Photo: Steven Gunther


Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), Los Angeles, CA
March 2010

By Rosanna Gamson

With Timur Bekbosunov, Rachel Butler-Green, Eric Esparza, Lavinia Findikoglu, Delilah Gamson Levy, Michael Gomez, Sarah Goodrich, Tomasz Krzyzanowski, Li-Ann Lim, Lilia Lopez, Edgar Miramontes, Carin Noland, Paul Outlaw, Tamara Pullman, Tomasz Rodowicz, Elina Toneva and Alexandria Yalj

Lights and set by Christopher Kuhl

Text: Rosanna Gamson, with material adapted from Diane Ackerman’s SMITHSONIAN Magazine article “Gallloping Ghosts” and from Elie Wiesel’s GATES OF THE FOREST

Music: Tomasz Krzyzanowski, Frédéric Chopin, Controlled Bleeding, Stuart Dempster, Michael Galasso, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, field recordings and traditional music arranged by Tomasz Krzyzanowski

Developed in the US and Poland with artists from both countries, Tov features a live vocal score created by acclaimed Polish theater group Stowarzyszenie Teatralne CHOREA (CHOREA Theatre Association). Deftly weaving together intense physical movement, spoken word, vocal music and the “theater laboratory” ensemble techniques originated by Jerzy Grotowski, Rosanna Gamson stages a profusely evocative dance drama around the story of the tarpan horse—an extinct species of Eurasian wild horse that was genetically "reassembled" in the 1930s through back-breeding of domestic horses. The Los Angeles choreographer braids this allegory of regeneration with reflections on the history of her own Polish-Jewish ancestors, horse traders from Szczecin, and the fate of Polish Jewry. Tov takes its title from “Gamzu l'tovah” (This too is for the good), a favorite saying of one of Gamson's forebears, Talmudic scholar Nachum ish Gamzu, who found God's hand even in tragedy. The full-evening work features a cast of performers from Poland and the U.S., with text spoken and sung in Hebrew, Polish, English, Yiddish, Bulgarian and German.

Tov, Rosanna Gamson’s full-evening dance-theater production named for the simple Hebrew word for ‘good,’ exuded the powerful feeling that an artist had kicked up her game. A confident choreographer deploying a full theatrical toolbox of movement, music, words and props for eight performances in REDCAT’s black box theater had arrived.”
- Debra Levine, Los Angeles Times

“The seeming chaos of this tower of Babel is orchestrated by the powerful, articulate voice of Paul Outlaw, a longtime Gamson collaborator, who narrates the tale in more than five languages. ‘We all start together and end alone,’ he tells us. Yet, as he is surrounded by the constant shifting of the stage set, the large cast and their sounds and movement, he never is alone. His vocals and action followed by, haunted by ghosts.”
- Kelly Hargraves, Eye Spy LA