By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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On Saturday night, the third night of the festival, brings the Vicki Lloid Dancers' performance, inspired by Carver's love poems.
“Even So . . .” is the name of the dance and theater piece, to start at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd. As with nearly all of the festival events, admission is free.
Read one of Carver's passages written near the end of his life in Port Angeles, and the title of this dance starts to make sense:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
These words are a point of liftoff for dancers Nik Hagen and Katie Hardy, who with actors Hensley Fradkin and Michael Blackwood tell the story of Carver and his wife, Tess Gallagher: their years together in Port Angeles, his death from cancer and the love that transcends his loss.
Lloid, in an interview this week from her home in Walla Walla, said she created “Even So . . .” as an ode to that lasting love and as a tribute to Carver's style.
Lloid is a dancer and choreographer with decades of experience who performed in New York City before coming west to teach at Whitman College and other schools.
Yet Carver taught her more about her art than did some of the choreographers she worked with.
Lloid first created a dance inspired by Carver's poetry in 1997, after writing to Gallagher to ask permission to use his poem “Lemonade.”
Making dances is not so different from writing poems and stories, Lloid believes.
Carver, she added, “is so completely honest and to the point emotionally. He doesn't insert frills.
“There is nothing in his writing that doesn't need to be there.
“And what is left,” Lloid said, “is so powerful.”
“Even So . . .,” in its 35 minutes, mixes modern dance, monologue, dialogue and original music by Walla Walla University professor and composer Kristin Vining.
Carver's poem “Gravy” is here, too, as are some funny moments, Lloid promised.
Saturday night's performance is among 20 Raymond Carver Festival events stretching from this week through May 25, which would have been Carver's 75th birthday.
Most, including the Studium Generale program at 12:35 p.m. today in the Little Theater, will take place at Peninsula College.
This afternoon's free Studium Generale festival preview will outline the poetry and prose readings, movie screenings and other events leading up to the May 25 “Rouse for Ray,” a traveling reading that will take fans to Port Angeles sites significant in Carver's writing.
The tour will conclude at his grave site at Ocean View Cemetery.
For a complete list of Raymond Carver Festival events, visit www.PenCol.edu or email Bruce Hattendorf, associate dean of instruction at the college and a chief organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at email@example.com.