As soon as the audience gathered, we were ushered into a vast church hall with actors and chairs scattered around the room. The invitation was there for us to move around the space in promenade style, looking in on the four strategically-placed scenarios: a stressed single mother and her lively two children, a not-so-solid couple and their best friend, a disaffected lesbian partnership and a young woman with writers’ block. I was curious to see the action closely, so I for one took up the invitation and was rewarded by viewing the work from all sorts of angles.
The idea behind the piece is that a cursed wind, tired of people’s monotonous lives and their relationships, whips up a storm and creates chaos amongst them all. Each of the scenarios crescendos with its own individual crisis, only to find that storm has blown away all memory of how the characters once behaved – allowing for new resolutions.
Beginning with a storyteller setting the scene for us, the performance swiftly developed into an energetic and vibrant dance piece. The movement eventually died out to make way for the spoken story lines. These were all delivered convincingly, and I couldn’t help but empathise with each of the characters. Very separate at first, soon the scenes cleverly and subtly touched on each other, bringing further depth to the stories. This is totally an ensemble piece, and it would be impossible to single any one actor out; each performer had a crucial role to play within each story line, and added weight and artistic value to the performance as a whole.
On the night that I saw the performance, not many of the audience members took up the offer to move around, which can’t have helped but affect their experience and appreciation of what they saw. Finding some way to encourage movement would help. I also questioned whether the space was just a little too cavernous at times; the acoustics were not so good, and some of the words in the spoken parts of the performance were a little hard to hear.
However, I liked this concept very much – and although it was clear that not everyone in this young company were dance trained, all of them put their heart and soul into the performance. This unusual and unpretentious piece kept me interested and engaged for the whole performance. So much so that, engrossed in one of the scenes, I visibly jumped when one of the actors fell at my feet quite unexpectedly. If you like contemporary dance with a different twist, then this would be the show for you.