Erin Renee Roberts: Love Lessons Learned
Reviewed by Victoria Velvet
Saturday, June 21st - It’s a wild night outside, rain beating against the pavement as lightning sizzles overhead. Indoors, the energy is smoother but no less intense as Erin Renee Roberts takes the stage, skillfully weaving together spoken word, movement and mythology. As the embodiment of the goddess Eros, she recounts her love affairs with music, art and dance, never quite making it clear whether each is a mortal artists or the sacred Muse of the medium. By so doing, she begs the question, where is the line between Goddess and woman, Muse and mortal?
Roberts’ appearance and the fluidity of her movements, however, lean toward the divine. In the stage lights, she is gleamingly beautiful, her ebony skin gilded as an ancient statue of Aphrodite, her body strong and lithe as she dances to the heartbeat rhythms of her lovers. When speaking of her first love, music, her gestures are sensual and smooth, bringing to mind the caresses of a bass player on the neck of his instrument. For art, her next love, she is literally statuesque, holding strong poses for a graffiti artist’s sketch session. Finally, with dance, her movements are skillfully isolated, popping and hitting on each funky heartbeat. Each segment has a gritty edge, but draws the audience into a floating, ethereal mood.
In the final scene, she kneels on the ground and produces her heart, golden and anatomical. She begins her ritual, intoning, “I will die in open heart surgery.” She tears her heart into pieces, one for each of her loves, one for the furies, the largest piece set aside for her sister, suggesting that perhaps blood is thicker even than the torrential waters of erotic love. After her death, she instructs, burn the pieces and watch them turn to gold, witnesses to the transformational power of passionate love. The scene ends with the pieces laid out in a ritualistic semi-circle, offerings on the altar of Eros, and the audience can’t help but wonder if the performance itself has been a sacred sacrifice to the Goddess of Love. If so, Aphrodite would be pleased.