Joe Roe lists this week’s dance hits. Reviews below.
I THE GARDEN 0F EARTHLY DELIGHTS Martha Clarke is one olArnerica's leading experimental theatre visionaries. This piece was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch.
Music Theatre Group, Hoyal Lyceum (Festival) 225 5756.29. 31 Aug Bprn. 30 Aug. 1. 2. Sept 7pm 5. 9pm. 24.50428.
I WHALE Exciting mime-theatre trorn David
Glass and Peta Lily intheir
version ol Melville‘s classic. Mohy Dick. Assembly Rooms (Fringe Venue 3) 226 2428. Until 2
Sept (not Mon 28) 1 .45pm.
I GAUTAMA BUDDHA and GHOST DAHCES Pertorrned hy the Houston Ballet and choreographed by Christopher Bruce. this is a British premier tor Gautarna Buddha.
Houston Ballet, Playhouse Theatre (Festival) 225 5756. 22—25 Aug 7.30pm. 24.50414.
Martha Clarke invites Donald Hutera into her garden.
Director-choreographer Martha Clarke enjoys defying definition. A former member ofthe world-famous dance collective Pilobolus. Clarke has garnered a reputation as one of America‘s leading experimental theatre visionaries via a series of uncom'entional. hybrid productions. Her first such effort. The Garden ()fEartth Delights. is a vivid and dream-like show inspired by 16th century Flemish painter Heironymus Bosch's masterpiece.
Commonly held to be an idiosyncratic interpretation ofthe Last Judgment. Bosch‘s triptych depicts a world of rampant. yet somehow innocent. carnalin and violence. Clarke describes the painting as ‘terrifying. voluptuous. tender. funny and a little cruel. It has all the possibilities.‘ She and her company of seven dancers. three musicians. a composer and a
designer tried to realise as many of these possibilities as they could during a month-long. largely improvisational rehearsal period at Clarke‘s Connecticut farmhouse.
‘Some pieces have a very hard birth.‘ she recalls. ‘but this one was fun. breezy and rather whimsical. The creative process was very much like banging on pots and pans and swinging off
ropes five days a week.‘
Clarke‘s Garden contains no plot or dialogue, only a magical blend of original music and startling imagery that encompasses Eden and Hell. There‘s a gallery of flying cherubs and demons. anthropomorphic trees and musical instruments. Into this other-wordly tableau Clarke interjects more than a passing reference to the coarsely human subjects of Bosch‘s The Seven Deadly Sins. ordinary mortals who follow a jolly, ugly path to the torments of Hades.
Clarke duplicates Bosch’s extravagant excesses with considerable ingenuity. She has commented that all the show needs are bodies and light. The cast wear simple body stockings. Most of the props are unremarkable natural objects - sticks, rocks, old tin lids, roots ofdead trees and so forth — found in Connecticut. ‘Nothing was store-bought.‘ Clarke proudly declares.
Raised in a well-to~do, arts-orientated suburban family. Clarke started studying dance at the age of six. As a teenager she trained with an associate of legendary choreographer Martha Graham. whom she was named. Thanks to her involvement with Pilobolus. she had ample practice in extending the boundaries of live performance before embarking on her own work. Her many influences include art history. films. literature and fairy tales.
‘People often ask what I‘m trying to say.‘ she says. ‘I don‘t have any message. not a literal one. I suppose I’m trying to depict levels of consciousness intermingling with the unconscious.’
Would she recommend the heavenly/hellish beauties and inventions of her Garden as suitable family entertainment? ‘If it's a pretty kinky family,’ she says, cutting loose with one of her frequent. raucous laughs. ‘So much ofa performance is the rapport between performers and audience. And most audiences are really with this piece.’
I The Garden Di Earthly Delights Music Theatre Group. Royal Lyceum Theatre (Venue 7) 229 9697. 29.31 Aug. 8pm. 30 Aug. 1.2 Sept 7pm and 9.30pm. £8(£6.5(l), £4.50.
atmospheric music and intriguing set-design. The structure is. however. not yet tight _ enough. The script tends , k ‘. to be too languid. too . overtly sincere. and certain characters are either not sustained throughout or not given enough space to develop. This is a new work. and at the moment the whole is not equal to the sum ofits excellent parts. (Inge Hansen) I Sanctuary (Fringe) Plan
15). 226 2633. Aug 22—27. 10pm, £6 (£3).
_ TRANSFORMAT IONS
Inspired by tales from the peninsula of Applecross. Sanctuary tells a Highland story through dance. music and speech. Devised by the company. it is performed with a sensitivity that gives a clear sense that the play
has been developed by the A SIUd)’ rather man a cast as a whole. performance.
The choreography by Transformations is an Frank McConnell is exploratory voyage
through a series ofvital environments. Each stage is beautifully initiated by huge slide projections and atmospheric percussion. from its watery embryonic
inventive throughout. with a diversity ofhumour and feeling that explores the characters and the setting. In this the show is greatly helped by
B. Traverse Theatre (Venue ,
beginning. where the first stirrings of amoebic life struggle to break out ofa suffocating membrane.
I through tothe emergence
The five solo artists collaborating on the piece have created a feast of colour. texture and sound, drawing on elements of the Japanese dance form. Butoh, which is reflected in exacting movement. the
chalked body of Lyn Denton. and the strong elemental theme ofthe work. . Unfortunately they have failed to capture the essential dynamism inherent in change. The dance is executed with excruciating control. but is never powerful or skilful enough to make a strong impact. The sixty minutes could be reduced by
condensing the work.
work of Pina Bausch this doesn't come shining through. and it is mainly the clarity and well-crafted nature ofthe whole show that gives the piece a smooth but personal feeling. ()ften
making it more effective
and less indulgent. (Tanya
(Fringe) Gilded Balloon
Theatre (Venue 38). 226
2151. 24. 28. 29. 30 Aug.
11.45am. £3 (£2.50). amusing. especially mother‘s letter to her
— daughter who has to battle against the idea that she WITHOUT TITLE
has been ‘inﬂuenced by The title of the piece
unnatural forces' as a lesbian. and sometimes refers to the labels and moving this is an effective titles that are forced upon Show (Andrew women and. using simple solo. duet and group
I Without Title (Fringe) dance and gesture to emphasize the text seven
Bulmershe Revival women explore the
Company. Southside constraints ofoppression.
International (Venue 82). 667 7365. until ZSept. Though inspired bythe
4pm. £2 (£1.50)
FIND YOUR DREAM COTTAGE. IN THE LIST CLASSIFIED
The List 25 — 31 August 1989 37