Dublin, then touring.
BODY AND FORGETTING by Liz Roche Company.
Peacock Theatre, 26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. (Beneath Abbey Theatre). To 2 February 2013. 8:00pm. Runs 55 mins. No Interval.
Tickets: 00 3531 8787 222 www.abbeytheatre.ie
Review: Michael Paye 29 Jan 2013.
Intense, visually intriguing manifestation of the power of memory, mind and body
Founded in 1999, Liz Roche Company stands as one of Ireland’s most successful contemporary dance companies. In this performance she takes elements from Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, seven fragments of erasure, memory, sex and violence, and turns such physically jarring themes into a dance piece of intriguing suspense, pathos and subjectivity.
Kundera writes, “We want to be masters of the future only for the power to change the past. We fight for access to the labs where we can retouch photos and rewrite biographies and history.” Certainly,
Alan Gilsenan’s marvellous background film with figures copying their real onstage counterparts, or sometimes being copied by the live dancers, brings this technological desire into a dialectic between the live and the recorded, where each slides into the other as the two develop in tandem. This conflict between screen and stage is nicely paralleled by how the eye of the audience is not necessarily drawn forcibly from one to the other. We must make a choice in what we watch.
Some of the more sensual moments in the piece are somewhat overplayed. Early on, one woman stands naked on the stage, exploring her body. Arguably this calls attention to the position of women’s bodies as something on display, something which is so over-determined as to make this woman who is exploring her sensuality appear estranged yet curious towards herself. She is not unlike one of Kundera’s women in the multiple roles of unrequited love, sex-object and past mistress he grants them.
Another woman’s bodily experience rounds off the performance, but in this case she slowly learns to flow in tandem with its movements, culminating in a fast paced virtuoso dance sequence which is accompanied by a fade into darkness.
With Denis Roche’s stunning musical score, using deep base lines, switching between two-four time, syncopated rhythms and a musical ensemble of guitars and synthesised instruments, Roche’s company brings the pathos and violence of memory and forgetting to the Peacock stage. In all, it is fleeting, pulsating and often surprising; sometimes it is frustratingly opaque, not unlike memory itself.
Lucia KickhamGrant McLay
Choreography: Liz Roche
Film: Alan Gilsenan
Composer/Musician: Denis Roche
Lighting design: Sinéad Wallace
Costume design: Catherine Fay
Director of Photography: Richard Kendrick
Editor: Emer Reynolds
DanceXchange Birmingham Hippodrome UK February Thursday 7th & Friday 8th February
Booking: + 44 (0) 844 338 5000 | dancexchange.org.uk/performance
Prices: £12 / £8 concession
Backstage Longford Wednesday 13th February, 8.30 pm
Booking: + 353 (0) 43 3347888 | http://www.backstage.ie/
Prices: €15 / €12 concession
The Model Sligo Saturday 16th February, 8pm
Booking: + 353 (0) 71 9141405 | http://themodel.ie/
Prices: €12 / €10 concession
Firkin Crane Cork Monday 18th February, 8pm
Booking: + 353 (0) 21 4507487 | http://www.firkincrane.ie/
Prices: €14 / €8 concession
Watergate Theatre Kilkenny Wednesday 20th February, 8pm
Booking: + 353 (0) 56 7761674 | http://watergatetheatre.com/
Prices: €12 / €10 concession