Betroffenheit at Cal Performances

Credits: Michael Slobodian

If you attend no other multimedia theater/dance show this year, see Betroffenheit at Cal Performances’ Zellberbach Hall. Featuring award-winning Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite and her miraculous company of movers, Kidd Pivot, in collaboration with one of Canada’s leading live theater troupes, Electric Company Theatre, the co-production is written by ECT Artistic Director Jonathon Young. Notwithstanding the how-to-pronounce-it title — it’s a German term related to bewildering shock — the show combines text, theater, dance, and rich production elements as it swirls mysteriously and magically to describe extreme emotional pain and its aftereffects: survival and recovery. Although Betroffenheit is not entirely autobiographical, Young’s real-life loss of his teenage daughter in a fire is at the core of the genre-defying work. Think it sounds grim? It’s not. There’s “The Show” within the show that includes pink feather boas, tap dance, and doors that speak. It will make you laugh, cry, cower, consider, and, ultimately, realize that life is the daily practice of staying connected to that something that’s impossible to put into words, but by which we survive. Dare we say, it’s hope for a better tomorrow?