Joan Merwyn Arts Education Services

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Selected Reviews
about original work created and/or co-created by Joan Merwyn

“Cutting-edge…quirky…strange…Somewhere between dance, mime and
traditional acting ”

— Channing Grey, Providence Journal

“…a rich vein of talent…”

San Francisco Chronicle

“MERWYN - ONE STEP BEYOND: Merwyn focuses clearly and precisely…Merwyn is always in control…always intelligent …moving and inspiring, humorous…non-traditional and experimental…imagination is probably Merwyn’s finest and richest treasure…the opening shimmers with promise of what’s to come…this graceful, 6-foot silent actress lives up to that promise with a show that’s like a multi-faceted diamond…her comic pieces are quite humorous…a good education in what mime is all about…Her diamond sparkles and shines.”

— R.E. Reimer, The Newport Daily News

“A New York artist, Ms. Merwyn is among the rare breed of performing artists who blend many different art forms into a truly unique artistic experience—for the artist and for her observers.”

— Patrice Smith, Evansville Courier, Indiana

“MERWYN THE MAGICIAN: ‘Siren’, which Ms. Merwyn performed in Canada, here gets its US premier…a lovely evocation …she brings across a vibrant sense of terror and attraction…when these stark, somber moments couple with a strong sense of struggling, exhausted emotions, the effect is one of powerful, sad simplicity…It puts in mind some dark and bubbling mythic fountain…aware and enthralling…a marvel…a cross between Isadora Duncan and the Banana Man…the audience eats it right up…Every crook of the head, every arch of an eyebrow, every twist of a wrist is carefully choreographed, smooth and rounded with the music…wonderfully supple and expressive, and every part of her - from her hair to her layered, wispy costume, is involved in the performance…a night that I can only recommend you to share.”

— Jerry O’Brien, Newport Eagle

“JOAN MERWYN RUNS QUITE A GAMUT…breathtakingly beautiful and graceful form…Outstanding control…very fun …mysterious and threatening. The show runs the gamut of emotions and experiences.”

— Viva-Wynne Griffin, Narraganset Times, Rhode Island

“It takes wit and a lot of nerve to walk on the brink. The audience found itself laughing in disbelief that such outrageous camp was being perpetrated. Merwyn is tall and slender, moving like a ribbon in the water. Her essence seems to be perpetually startled innocence…she is caught, as if in a hypnotic sting…a tour de farce”

— Gar Smith, Berkeley Barb

“To get women to laugh about their insecurities as well as their strengths was a great moment, miraculously performed.”

Plexus, San Francisco

“…I loved the character…(Ms. Merwyn) molded her entire physical presence which is developed and revealed through the integrity of movement…a fine sensibility…lovely work”

— Liz Thompson, Jacob's Pillow

“…Merwyn dominates her pieces…her aesthetic appears based on Pilobolus and Momix, plus a pinch of Mummenschanz.”

— Robert Greskovic, Village Voice

“…Your dramatization was profound…you were superb.”

— Roma Guy, San Francisco Women’s Center

“…Joan Merwyn…good perception here of psychological intention in relationship to her double role: her playful teasing changes to the particularly brutal cudgel master.”

— Weser Kurier, Germany

“Joan Merwyn opened with a haunted performance, ‘Siren’…one felt the horror and the sensual attraction, the full body of her desire for possession…Merwyn uses the sense of ‘performance’ to it’s fullest…Echoing deeply, Merwyn made ocean waves with the fluidity of her skirts, and by the finish, she left a disturbed audience with her disturbing presence.”

— Anna Maria Brown, The Phoenix, New York City

“Joan Merwyn isn't silent about her art. An accomplished performer, she has won applause of audiences from Poland to Germany to France to California. In Europe she earned complimentary reviews as a mime, actress, clown, dancer, juggler…”

Providence Journal

Reviews from 10 Years of Touring as a Featured Soloist with Adaptors Movement Theater

“A supercilious temptress (Joan Merwyn) in a black-and-white leopard print ensemble stands in a green canvas field surrounded by three dozen Dalmatians while a tenor sings the theme from the movie ‘A Summer Place’…The woman with the Dalmatians is one of many striking, cartoon-like depictions of Hollywood-style seduction in DecoDance…a highly entertaining, satirical style of theatrical mime, media imagery and social roles.”

— Stephen Holden, New York Times

“‘Koppelvision’…a series of surreal scenes—some of them terrific—about the slippages between truth and fiction, media hype and loss of faith…the energy is fierce…unaccountably profound.”

— Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice

“‘Autobahn’…a resounding critical success…The Adaptors approach is instantly communicated. There is a constant rhythm of movement through flowing images that define character…The message is that we are what we hear and see.”

— Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times

“…so exciting, so original, so unexpected, it renews your faith in the artistic future…nine mime-actors command an extraordinary range of skills involving gesture, movement, song and speech…The particular way in which the Adaptors use their bodies—to suggest character, to define emotion, to outline action, to stylize an entire cultural milieu—is hard to describe because it is so novel and individual- these bodies ‘speak’ more eloquently than words…But it's a kind of wackiness laden with startling perception about human folly, desire, hope and delusion. ‘Autobahn’ falls somewhere between the acid humor of Brecht-Weill on one side and the innovative performance art of people like Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson and Robert Wilson, on the other. For all its multimedia extravagance, it's intimate in scale and swift in development. It would be hard to exaggerate the virtuosity of the performers and the production as a whole.”

— Alan M. Kriegsmun, Washington Post, re. Autobahn at Baltimore Theatre Project

“The performing is powerful, carried out with absolute control and clarity by the 12-member troupe, certainly the most exciting and provocative addition to the Twin Cities arts landscape in some time…certainly part of the postmodern mix—pulling from dance, theater and media, telling their non-linear, non-literal stories through images juxtaposed with snatches of dialogue—yet they're head and shoulders above run of local mill dance-theater…Their images are powerful, clear and compellingly imaginative…The Adaptors derive their power from laying opposites side by side, or turning one thing into an opposite thing…It's a flow, a collage, an hour's worth of stimulating and provocative images that build into an accumulation of visual insights.”

— Mike Steele, Star Tribune, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, re. Koppelvision at Henipin Arts Center/Walker Arts Center

“Do not miss them. This is something genuinely new and the start of something big.”

— Clive Barnes, New York Post


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