Two little girls, seemingly about 6 and adorable in sheer white dresses and black slippers, lean against two trees on the lawn of the old Parsons Blacksmith Shop near Ashawagh Hall in Springs. An audience, limited to eight people, stands nearby. The girls start to play tag, join in a circle dance, and collapse onto a blanket, gazing at the sky, until one runs away, her friend chasing and calling after her.
So begins “Voyeur,” a 20-minute succession of tableaux-vivants that touchingly portray a broken childhood friendship, created and directed by the actress and dancer Kate Mueth.
The action then moves into the blacksmith shop, but the audience watches from outside through the windows, moving to new casements each time recorded music signals the beginning of a new segment in a different part of the interior.
The voyeurs soon get glimpses of the girls seated on a silvery revolving platform (the merry-go-round of life?), their slow arm movements seeming to beckon — who? Their friends? Their fate?
By the third scene, the girls are separated. One comes out to join the audience in watching her now-distant friend and to narrate in brief phrases (“Joy descended on them. Joy flew away.”). The other girl, inside, grows older, replaced by a succession of increasingly older actors, each in a sheer white dress. Through pantomime and dance, they enact stages of the girl’s life -— a sulky adolescent crush on a hunky gymnast, a wedding in which the cake towers over the simple affection of the slowly dancing bride and groom, a new baby whose death drives away the husband, a dispirited middle age. At the end, the two girls, both once again children, see one another again — but only though a window.
Ms. Mueth, an accomplished professional, has assembled the performers under the banner of her seven-year-old nonprofit dance-theater company, the Neo-Political Cowgirls. With several other site-specific productions to its credit, its goals are to experiment with theater that “explores the female voice” and to create roles for women. Clearly, the cowgirls are riding an evocative range.
Ms. Mueth’s direction of the youngest performers, Tennessee Carter Dakota King and Lua Li, who in fact are 9, is particularly effective. They project their multiple moods convincingly. Susan Stout transforms the young mother’s emotions from contentment to grief with subtle facial gestures that are all the more moving because she seems not to know anyone is watching. Hannah Cook’s sets, separated by black curtains, evolve from abstract (dangling ropes) to realistic (a rumpled bed) as the ordinariness of the world closes in on the protagonist.
Turning the stage’s “fourth wall” into an actual window makes these performances seem unusually candid. Ms. Mueth hopes to use the technique with other material. Meanwhile, would-be voyeurs can spy their way through five performances per night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. “Rain or shine,” the producers bravely promise.
Tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com.