CONTEMPORARY DANCE ONE CROWDED HOUR Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 19 Oct. 0.
At a time when the Scottish Arts Council is trying to open up the audience for contemporary dance. it falls on everyone involved in the artform to keep work as accessible as possible. Not to dumb it down or attempt to crowd please with thinly disguised musical theatre. but to create work that entertains. moves and engages its audience on as many levels as possible. Which is why One Crowded Hour is such a disappointment. An extensive Scottish tour has been put together and the many different components contained in the show —- dance. live music. art installation — should ensure a varied audience. but it does little to further the cause.
Choreographer Claire Pencak was initially inspired by Friedrich De La Motte Fouque's mythical story of the water nymph. Undine. and French poet Aloysius Bertrand's subsequent derivation. Ondine. Not wishing to re tell the tale. but simply draw on its themes. Pencak has her six dancers weaving like a shoal on the sea bed. waving their arms upwards like floating reeds. crossing their legs crab-like on the floor and generally moving like flotsam and Jetsam on the ocean. At times the action is cluttered. but for the most part it is beautifully fluid and the dancers wear the steps well. Above them. Keiko Mukaide's shimmering glass installation throws pretty patterns of light onto every available surface. and her various object dart adorn the stage.
Unfortunately while our eyes are cosseted. our ears are treated rather less kindly. What starts as a whispeiy recital of Bertrand's poem soon descends into screeching electronica and self-indulgent vocal grunts. At times. the double bass works as a drum to produce an atmospheric beat and Peter Nelson's live electronics perfectly mimics the bizarre vibrations of the oceanic depths. But generally. the abrasive sound meant this hour was overcrowded rather than crowded. (Kelly Apter)
DOUBI l; Blll FEAST & THE SIGHTLESS Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 20
Vanishing Point seems to have adapted my technique for blind dating. Feast is a very similar exercise to Dinner /n The Dark. an event at the Edinburgh Fringe of 2()()(). You are led into a completely darkened room. separated from your companion and served a meal in the pitch black. As you grope about for your food and drink. you become aware of senses other than sight. while you develop your social facilities by haVing to converse With a stranger dining next to you who you've never seen and can't assess Visually. The press night audience engaged with the exercise with enthusiasm. though one ungracious voice lit might have been my ()Wlll requesting a cigarette after the meal deserved reprimand. A brief reading about sightlessness rounds off the event.
The second half. also in darkness. is
They look like this when you can see them
an adaptation of Maeterlinck's old avant-garde piece. in which several voices enact the dilemma of a group of blind folk who have been abandoned on a mountainside by their guide. Overtones of menace. both physical and metaphysical. accumulate through the evening as various sounds and movements indicate the peril that these folk are in. Although a little slow early on. the effect is ultimately quite powerful. and the performances are strong. Overall. a good night out. and I recommend the samosas.
68 THE LIST 79’, Oct 'i N'r. Wit)?
DANCE ANIMATION CROSSOVER AT THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 20 Oct.
The last time clioreographer Norman Douglas presented work in Scotland he put us through the emotional ringer. this time he's asking us to take our shoes and socks off.
Those who saw The Ensemble's Mon Por Ti last year WI” remember the angry passion displayed by dancer Tone Gellein and her partner as their relationship went from bad to v-rorse. A year later. Douglas has her buried in sand and dreaming of a long-lost lover and the children she never had. Together with animator Jessica Langford and Georgian composer Marina Adamia. Douglas has created a poignant dance work filled with intricate movements and precision timing.
But why the bare feet'? Well. Langford works with sand. each frame gently shaped on a light box. creating exotic images with her fingertips — so Doug'as is using it too. ‘The stage is coxered in
UNITED IN VOICE: SCOTTISH/AFRICA COLLABORATION.
The Dance House, Glasgow, Fri 26-Sun 28 Oct, then touring
The UNAM choir lf‘ Windhoek. NEW‘IDIEIS capital. consists of :30 of the nest beautiful voices in the ‘.‘.’ll()l(} of Africa. Interestingly. none of the singers reads music: they learn by listening and it is passed on ‘.'./llll()llt being written down. Christopher Bell of t ie RSNO is currently over there for a t‘.'.«'o-\.'.'eek residency.
Dark, beautiful and exciting
a circle of sand.‘ Douglas explains. ‘And the audience have to walk through it to get to their seats. Then the animation is projected onto the sides. the floor and all over the dancer's body z s she movesf
Despite the rather grown-up theme. the show is targeted at both adults and children. with two twenty-minute shov-rs at (3pm and 8pm. because as Douglas says. ‘it's quite dark. but it's also very beautiful and exciting'. iKelly Apteri
Peace and choir
Rosina Bonsu. artistic director of Glasgow's Dance House. has already choreograi)hed a show there and I an‘ in the process of writing a play for them for
Three Naiiiibians. choirii‘aster Bonnie Pereko and two singing actors. are about to (IOll‘C‘ to Scotland for two weeks from Sunday 71 October. Exchanging information. comparing working n‘ethods. swapping music. the Namibians will take part in workshops with a variety of organisations. including RSAMD. Call That Singing, SYT. Knightswood Dance School and Dennistoun Primary Over the weekend of firiday 2(3—Saturday 28 October. the Dance House is hosting open workshops. which will fuse ll‘()\.’(}!l‘(}lll, music. percussion and writing in exploring contemporary African and Scottish identity. \"t’orkshops are open to anyone. Phone 0141 (33/1 0716 for details.
Naii‘ibia and Scotland have lots in (IOll‘ll‘Oll. recent independence. attempts at self- government and giving young people a voice "This is the beginning of a startling collaboration.' says Rosina Bonsu. 'Next year we hope to bring the SO-strong Namibian choir to Scotland. who will combine with a similar—si/ed Scottish choir to make a unique theatrical event.‘ iJohn Binniei
NfW srAsoN GATEW£Y THEATRE
SEASO Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh, from
Tue 23 Oct.
Much of the talk around Queen Margaret University College's Gateway Theatre will no doubt centre on next year's IrVine Welsh musical. But in the meantime. there's plenty of opportunities to see the young stars of the future go through their paces. The
Gateway's luxurious foyer
season up to Christmas has recently been announced. with plenty of variety on offer and a new studio theatre added to the eXIsting auditorium.
wo of the less commonly reprised works of Tennessee Williams. Sudden/y / as! Summer and Orpheus Descending will open the season. and will be followed by lonesco's classic absurdist satire of English manners. [he Ba/(i Prima Donna. Later in November. there'll be a revrval of that classic. spectacular theatre of cruelty piece. Peter Weiss's Mt'irat/Sade. something rarely seen in the professional theatre because of the prohibitive expense of its large cast.
The first semester season ends With an eerie Christmas piece, 7he Phantom Yolbooth. There's no doubting the talent of the young folk at this leading theatrical academy. and there's the added bonus of cheap tickets. something it'd be nice to see more of in our theatres. iSteve Cramerl