Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Go Live: 4D Cinema: Screen 2 / Corali Dance Company New Work / Je m’apelle Reviens / My Heart became this Monster / Tree / Triptych / Inflect, Unravel

Curated by Donald Hutera
Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Hanna Wroblewski in My Heart Became This Monster

The final performance of the Go Live London season (it continues in Oxford and Winchester) covered a wide range of work.

It opened with Mamoru Iriguchi’s performance 4D Cinema: Screen 2 which makes intriguing use of digital recording, live video and a solo performer. His head framed by a screen which, together with a video projector, is mounted on a helmet he is wearing, Iriguchi identifies himself as being called Cinema and tells of his twin brother Maneci, now no longer with us but always there on the screen: where, though dead, he now appears.

First he’s a figure in the background, singing and dancing. Partnering his brother in a waltz we see his back then, as Cinema circles, his face shows on the reverse of the screen looking over Cinema's shoulder. In a long conversation, with Manceni subtitled, Cinema denies remembering most of what his twin talks about.

In a second section with the screen now set up centre, independent of the performer, Cinema now tells a version in which he is one of triplets. Their father appeared to their mother as a duck (like Zeus to Leda). Now there’s a new conversation, entirely unintelligible without its new subtitles which is actually what has just been performed played in reverse. It’s clever and amusing but still a work in progress that needs better timing and a sharpening of content as well as some technological tinkering but full marks for a very original idea.

Corali is a dance company made up of people who have learning disabilities and artist associates who do not. Their unnamed new work featuring four of their regular members begins with a chorus of bird song and seems to celebrate spring. It is very much a group piece, most actions paired or in unison, with even the ebullient DJ (the dancer also known as Housni Hussan) containing his energies as part of the team. There is always something very moving about the concentration and dedication of these dancers and this is no exception.

Alice Labant’s Je m'appelle Reviens is a solo danced to a soundtrack of whirring and clicking like the sounds of some kind of manufactory: a cloth mill perhaps. The choreography, flailing, reaching and weaving, suggests both the whirring machinery and the action of its human operators. But maybe that list is too literal an interpretation and the pressures are emotional rather than physical. This could be a young woman struggling to regain a lost love or return to a life she had put behind her, especially as the dance becomes less frantic and more flowing, more human.

My Heart became this Monster, danced by Hanna Wroblewski, is another solo that is rather disturbing. A bent-over figure kneels on the floor with a skirt spread out around her, for a long time stationary. Gradually, a hand reaches out, then the torso gradually rises and the naked back begins moving its muscles in one direction and then the other.

This writhing turns into beating the back in self-flagellation, scouring it with nails. Is this some penance or punishment? Gradually the body turns, bare-breasted; painfully bends backwards and advances on all fours. Violent movements and heavy breathing eventually subside and a wristband is unwound and turned into a blindfold before even more violence continues that is almost orgasmic. A monster indeed that cannot be conquered.

The second half opens with Fred Gehrig’s A Tree, yet another solo, in which he seems to extend his arms like branches, becoming the wind blowing through them, suggesting growth and the containment that shelters birds and other tree creatures. “Je suis une arbre” he declares, though I am not sure I would have known it earlier had it not had that title, but he’s an interesting performer.

Mara Vivas Triptych, as you might expect, is performed by three female dancers. It starts in silence with them lined up motionless looking upstage; eventually three hands slide sideways in unison. Tiny, slow movements like the splaying of fingers gradually build to big ones. They turn, break line later, and begin to make complementary movements.

What might have just been the sound of the theatre's ventilator has now grown in volume to a definite buzz as and a bell chime now joins it. Now the dancers are making complex patterns. Could they have been measuring threads? Though they don’t seem to be cutting them, they have started to feel like controlling figures—are these now the fates measuring our destiny?

The final work of the evening, and for me the best, is Ballet Independence Group’s (BIG) inflect, unravel. The only pretentious thing about it is its lowercase titling. It presents two mature dancers, Susie Crow and Jennifer Jackson, and two musicians, Jenna Sherry on violin and Jonathan Rees on cello. The musicians don’t just play Ravel’s 1920 duo but become part of the choreography.

The first movement is a solo for Susie Crow, dancing around the musicians with graceful balletic steps and extensions. The second has Jennifer Jackson sitting back to back with the violinist as she plays, the two gently moving in contretemps to each other before they rise, still back-to-back, and Jackson dances while Sherry now become peripatetic.

Crow now re-joins the action, seating herself on the violinist’s stool. The violin’s music stand is now relocated to create a diagonal channel cross the stage between the musicians and the two dancers now take up a reflective choreography, mirroring each other but also interacting with the musicians if only by eye contact. The music is brighter, the movement faster and the dance is enlivened with touches of humour.

Quite rightly, Hutera has assembled performers who are trying out new things, extending boundaries. These “unravel” variations may not be particularly avante garde, dancing with musicians is not an innovation, but these two dances exude a confidence and an authority that gives their performance more weight than the rest of the bill.

It is not trying to be dramatically different but it makes a very satisfying final element to an intriguing bill.

Reviewer: Howard Loxton