Ever since Mark Murphy got into ﬁlm. he‘s been looking a bit blcary-eyed round rehearsal-time. The artistic director of V-Tol Dance Company forged his name on the dance scene in the late 80s with a straight-up. everyday-people kind of (ultra- )physical theatre. Lately. though. he‘s spent many an all-nighter up the edit- suite. honing the dance/film synthesis that‘s made him one of the most unusual choreographers in Britain.
Murphy‘s last piece for V-Tol. 32 Feel l’er Semml Per Second — with its jaw- dropping opening sequence of a dancer hurtling down the face ofa building — proved that he‘s no multi-media dabbler. But does this increased affinity with the medium mean he's as much lilnunaker as choreographer now‘.’
‘l‘d leave that for other people to say. because I‘m completely self-taught.‘ he replies with cast-iron modesty. ‘But the reason i use film is because I feel it can expose a bit more about what I‘m trying to say. I certainly don't use it because it's a good selling point or any
V-Tol Dance Company: twirls on screen
of those other bullshit roads that people go down when they‘re trying to think of new concepts.‘
The new piece In the Privacy a] my ()wn sees the latest chapter in the V-Tol book on relationships — three strangers thrown together at a major turning point in their lives. But as Murphy explains, the inclusion of film- projection is not just there to create a dance-performance with knobs on. ‘lt‘s completely necessary to the kind of work I'm endeavouring to make. And because it's so entwined in the way l‘m making it, I don‘t get other people to do it. I shoot. edit and direct it all. It really isn‘t a million miles away from choreographing or directing - especially the editing pan of it. It‘s all manipulating bodies in space and time.‘ (Ellie Carr)
In Me I’rii'ar'y aj’my ()irn. V-Ta/ Dance Company. MaeRnher/ Arts Centre. Stirling. Than 9 Nui'elllber,’ Traverse Theatre. [Lilia/214ml]. Sat ///Sun / 2 November
Matthew Hawkins: Purcell fresh
Ex-Michael Clark dancer, and most recently choreographer for high-flyin’ Bambert Dance Company, Matthew Hawkins will be getting back to his roots this month. Hooking up with SAM Gay Men’s Chorus for Glasgayl, he’ll be performing Great Moments of Purcell - and Blow, a dance-piece in honour of 17th century composer Henry Purcell’s terce'ntenary.
‘l was a choirboy once,’ says Hawkins ln confessional mode. ‘Back then we sang Purcell without really knowing what it was, but I’ve always loved it, and I thought, “Well, why be left out of this 3DD-year anniversary?” It’s a great opportunity to participate in something a bit bigger.’
Matthew Hawkins in cahoots with a gay Glaswegian choir is something that could easily have been invented for Glasgay! (both the choreographer and the dance-style are undeniably camp) but SAM Gay Men’s chorus are not the first lucky choirboys to get a taste of fame with Hawkins’s Fresh Dances Group. On the touring circuit for some months now, the piece is designed so the company can settle into the area where they’re performing a few days early, and pick up a new and localised choir, and even extra dancers, for each individual show.
‘lt’s a way of us exploring our work a little bit more in-depth by having to teach it to somebody else,’ explains Hawkins. ‘This is the way a lot of dance really evolves and grows. . . just the act of teaching something from one person to another is quite illuminating.’
Dancewise, explains Hawkins, temporary recruits for Great Moments can number anything from three to twenty-three, gathered from several days of residencies held before the show. ‘People more or less just nominate themselves,’ he laughs. Bit of an unknown quantity then? ‘Bit of an unknown quantity,’ he agrees, ‘but I think a bit of spontaneity is what people are looking for in a live show.’ (Ellie Carr)
Great Moments of Purcell — and Blow, Matthew Hawkins and The Fresh Dances Group, Battier Theatre, Fri 3-Sat 4 llov, 8pm.
‘ somewhat bemused. ‘Your rock ’n’ roll
Sean Hughes: ‘men are scum’
Sean Hughes is off to meet a literary agent soon. There’s a book of short stories on the way, a novel in progress, and people are interested. All this and a stand-up tour too. You’d think he’d want to slow down a bit now he’s made it, especially as he’s just about to hit 30, that dangerous age all terminal adolescents dread. ‘All of a sudden you’re into proper adulthood,’ he says, sounding
years are over and all your friends are having kids and settling down.’
Hughes for one does not intend getting out the comfy slippers just yet. ‘l’m just getting angrier,’ he says. ‘You’re supposed to get rid of all your angst in your teens, but I want to point out how men are scum.’
All this spleen is light years away from the cutesy persona presented in his post-modernist sit-com Sean’s Show. ‘You could’ve killed someone in it and people would’ve still thought, “Oh, what a great bloke”,’ he muses. ‘But I still think Sean’s Show was state-ot-the-art, and I honestly don’t think there should’ve been any sit- coms after it. But of course all these dreadful things are still made.’
What about the novel then? Isn’t Hughes just another funny man with literary pretensions, no different from Elton, Newman, etc? ‘People can think that if they want, but I’m coming at this from the same viewpoint as everything I’ve ever done,’ he argues. ‘lt’s about childhood revenge. lt’s set where i grew up, and i want to exorcise a few ghosts with it. In a way, I don’t even care if it’s published.’
80 what sort of life will Hughes be leading when he’s 40? Poet, man of letters and all-round raconteur? ‘I don’t know what’ll be happening in ten years time. I don’t plan my life in that way, but you can be guaranteed I’ll never be going on stage talking about hotels, or meeting pop stars, or going on tour.’ But will he still be angry? ‘I expect so, but I really hope not. I’ll just be happy to be alive.’ (Heil Cooper)
The Grey Area Tour, Sean Hughes, Macliobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Tue 14; Old Athenaeum, Glasgow, Wed 15 and Man 20 November; George Square
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