“We were in a residency program last year in a town with 26 people and 26,000 deer,” Smith says. “We never saw the people in the town, only the animals. We only saw what was protected. Here were people trying to control nature without using barbed wire or fences.”
The daily amusement of watching those endless herds of deer grazing across a nature preserve was an eye-opener and inspiration for their evening-length world premiere.
“Mine,” which opens this weekend at the Joe Goode Annex, centers on that concept of control — how humans seek to keep other beings and/or their own impulses in check.
Although the piece is not an ode to the great outdoors, preview audiences report noticing something distinctly deerlike in the production.
“There is a nature quality to the movement,” Rein says. “But it’s more about the psychology and cycles of control.”
Designer Sean Riley’s set of ropes and nets adds a visual reference to the concept of restraint.
Smith and Rein’s dances are frequently performed outdoors as public art, but for this work, they wanted to exert a little more, well, control over the environment.
“Performing in a theater shows all the angles — the bending and shaping of a piece. It gives us a stance on how the viewer takes it in,” Rein says.
To draw the audience particularly close, the RAWdance company even cut seating in the theater to half of its capacity.
IF YOU GO
Where: Joe Goode Annex, 401 Alabama St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday and Wednesday-Dec. 15
Tickets: $21 to $25