Picnic takes place within a surreal, grassy bubble, echoing the experience of its creators while sheltering in place in New York’s Hudson Valley. Themes of time and consumption expand and converge throughout the film, countered by a buoyant, klezmer music throughline. Developed and performed by RAWdance Co-Artistic Directors, Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein, the work draws inspiration from the vibrant, saturated scenes of The Wizard of Oz and Snow White, which walk the line between real and illusory. Scenes that gleam on the surface, but where a beautiful field of poppies or a shiny red apple could pose a threat.
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Press & Accolades
If the Queen of Hearts hosted a luncheon in the croquet-ground, it might go something like their Rein and Smith’s Picnic: a profusion of red-and-white checks, hands smooshing into berry-topped cakes, red apples whittling to their cores via stop-motion animation, Rein’s cherry-soda hair shimmering in the sun. Klezmer music by Underscore Orkestra fuels the high-concept chaos, into which Smith and Rein inject glimpses of abstract choreography – as artistic partners of many years’ standing, they are seamless together – and kinetic editing enhances its sugar-rush energy.Claudia Bauer, Dance Tabs
The final screening of the night, Smith and Rein’s Picnic, reminded me so much of Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 Powers of Ten. At least at the very beginning as Smith and Rein relaxed in an idyllic scene. From there, Picnic takes off, evoking a layered, textured conversation between the two. Pairing food and movement together in a familiar container, emotional extremes abounded – from frustration to satiation, sober to comic, conflict to peace.Heather Desaulniers, Critical Dance
Select Previous Screenings
Picnic has been screened at: ViDEOSKiN II (Nepal) • Boulder Ballet’s Dance Film Festival (Online/Boulder, CO) • Palm Springs International Dance Festival (Online/Palm Springs, CA) • Iowa International ScreenDance Festival (Online/Iowa City, IA) • 48 Hills Variety Gala (Online/San Francisco) • the CONCEPT series: Digital Edition (Online/San Francisco)