Choreographer Jo Lloyd’s problem is not how to make work that is new but how to make work in a new way. Per Marianne Moore:
its confusion to proof
How do you make a cofusion for three? How do you reinsert a little chaos into an artistic process, a way of making work, which has become habitual? How do you generate productive perplexities, the potential for surprise?
We discover Rebecca Jensen sitting on a large square of white matting, stretching her hamstrings and the rest. Shian Law enters from behind the seating bank. Jo Lloyd follows. These two put on sneakers and then leave the room, jogging, heading out into the foyer through the main doors. They’re gone a long time. Jensen continues stretching. When Law and Lloyd return they look flushed, as if they’ve just run around the block. What really happened behind the closed doors, outside the theatre. Is this a metaphor for the performance as a whole? The dancers undergo an experience, but one that is hidden from the audience.
The dance proper begins. First Jo Lloyd. Then Shian Law. And then Rebecca Jensen. Solos give way to duets and then trios, then duets, solos and so on, the various combinations flowing together, the dancers either improvising or responding to an obscure cueing system or both. Their movements are grounded in a kind of non-technical vocabulary that ostentatiously announces its emancipation from history with loose flailing arms, heads thrown back and lots of reeling. Bodies move like streamers in a strong wind or like inflatable wavey air dancers: whippling and ripping upward then collapsing or folding up.
Continue reading “Jo Lloyd: Confusion for Three”
From Bruno Latour and Adam Lowe:
To penetrate [The Iliad’s] inherent greatness, you need to bring with you all of the successive versions, adaptations, and accommodations. Nothing is more ordinary than this mechanism.
Ben Speth launches an epic performance event combining seven different translation’s of the Iliad in a marathon reading of chapters one to four by a team of ten contemporary dance artists. Sources for this live art Iliadic cento-slam range from Chapman (1615) to Buckley (1851) to Fagles (1990). When we enter the space, we see the actual texts piled on a table, a tall stack of books. The books are later distributed among the performers. The sequence of the readings – each performer reads somewhere between five and twenty lines at a time – is fixed by Speth. And during the reading of each of the four chapters there’s a different structure for interprative movement improvisations. Between each chapter there’s a short break, with plenty of food, wine and beer.
This performance can only be about isolated moments, accidental beauties and insights revealed fleetingly amid the sprawl of baffled and baffling improvisation. So the first moment. What is the theatre of war? A loft on Moreland Street in Footscray. Afternoon. Midsummer. A very mild midsummer. The sun is setting. The loft is light and spacious, with one large window open to the outside. It takes roughly one hour to read each book of the Iliad aloud. And each book is supposed to represent roughly one day of the siege of Troy. Across the first hour, as the Greeks argue (WHY ARE THEY FIGHTING?), the colours of the evening shift and fall, from white birds to, per Christopher Logue’s adaptation of the poem–
The colours lingers in the loft, it being so open and so spacious. It is Simone Weil who calls Homer as “impartial as sunlight”. And the body of the air is white and silver. Continue reading “Ben Speth: Iliads”