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Imaginations Fly Away with Andrew Dawson

By Rebecca McBrien
Photos by Olympia Shannon

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, —

IGNITION —

4, 3, 2, 1, 0 —

LIFT-OFF.

And off we went into Andrew Dawson’s Space Panorama. On Saturday morning, we flew through space and traveled back in time as Dawson’s hands recreated Apollo 11’s lunar landing. Cutting scenes, as if in a movie, he carried us through the awe of space travel while captivating generations both young and old.

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Dawson’s wit and charisma was effortless as he relayed the historical event with his hands, a table, and Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony. Garvin Robertson narrated as Dawson recreated the momentous occasion bringing our imaginations to the foreground.

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“It’s potent stuff, your imagination,” said Dawson during the post-performance Q & A.

He explained how he got into miming, “A teacher told me I was rubbish at acting.” Luckily this didn’t deter him and he found a way to express himself through mime and dance. Now as a performer, director, choreographer, and hand model, Dawson has broken the mold surrounding miming.  His graceful hands move beyond what most people think of as mime and into the territory of interpretive dance, although he continues to just use his hands.

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Dawson’s performance of Space Panorama comes during his residency at MASS MoCA, where he is currently developing The Russian Doctor.  It is a theatrical new work crafted around the astounding exploration made by the literary giant, Anton Chekhov. Dawson teams up with long-time collaborator and neuroscientist Jonathan Cole and medical historian Marius Turda to explore an oft-forgotten element of Chekhov’s legacy. Working with Chekhov’s only non-fiction work, The Russian Doctor explores the great risk Chekhov took during his tour of the Sakhalin Islands. Be sure to reserve your tickets for what promises to be another magical step back in time and space. More event details can be found here.

Posted May 7, 2014 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Work-in-progress
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