Vincent Dance Theatre – the Brighton-based dance company and associate company of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival founded by choreographer and director Charlotte Vincent – is celebrating its 21st birthday this year in style as they head to Brighton Festival 2015 with two very special works; Underworld and Look At Me Now, Mummy, as part of their 21 Works / 21 Years tour.
Both shows will be performed as normal on Tuesday 12 May, before a wholly unique live event on Wednesday 13 May which sees Underworld and Look At Me Now, Mummy performed concurrently, and back to back, in an epic four hour and 45 minute durational and immersive experience… one in which audiences are invited and encouraged to walk between each show, coming and going as they please.
We spoke to Charlotte who shared her thoughts on the two shows and the durational performance.
CHARLOTTE VINCENT ON…
...Look At Me Now, Mummy:
“You can read Look At Me Now, Mummy in several ways; as a new mother, someone who’d like to be a mother, someone who has lost children or babies… it’s not as literal as it sounds; the context is a slight domestic madness, really. It’s a beautiful solo performance – very few words and not a lot dance, but it’s all movement based – with a soundtrack of white noise and some beautiful bits of BBC Radio 3-type music. The rest is silence… we almost made it a bit like a silent movie; it’s a woman lost in her own imagination, going through a series of rituals to keep herself sane… but actually in doing those rituals, she’s going a bit madder by the minute! Motherhood is a kind of repetitious madness, which I don’t think is talked about much.
“It’s completely choreographed down to the last gesture, look and breath… but obviously in the durational version, those very finely tuned deliveries start to break down a little bit just through tiredness and exhausted… by the sixth version of her forty minute show, dancer Aurora Lubos is actually going a bit mad with the delivery of it as a performer, never mind as the persona on stage”
“Underworld is a vastly different piece of work to Look At Me Now, Mummy. It’s a huge ensemble piece for eight performers. It has a haunting score of children’s voices, church bells and the river that runs under the railway arches where we originally did a site specific version of the show. It’s really strong, powerful and moving. It’s very loosely based on the Orpheus myth - the dancers are trapped in an underworld. You can sit in it for thirty minutes and be quite transfixed, but most come in and end up staying for two-and-a-quarter hours and watch it as a show. It wasn’t made like that, but people get drawn into the world and stay, because they want to see what happens next. We’re finding most people sit it out and come away quite transformed.”
...The five hour durational performance of Underworld and Look At Me Now, Mummy:
“All the performers are at the top of their game… they’ve got incredible stamina. For them, it’s a real challenge to do what is the equivalent of two two-and-a-half shows in one night. As it’s a very physical work, fatigue starts to play a part… but fatigue is part of this world, which is why we’ve done it like this. In Hades, there is no respite or rest, so Underworld is a restless churning that they’re caught up in and they cant really leave… and that’s the parallel of Look At Me Now, Mummy… she can’t get out of her – albeit very different – world either.”
...Encouraging audiences to move between the two shows:
“It’s more of a visual, physical installation than a performance. It’s a very un-British way of watching dance theatre, and I’d invite people not to be worried about disturbing others by coming in and out. You don’t worry so much about that in a gallery situation – you look at a painting for as long as you like and then move on – so we’re trying to encourage people to view the work in a slightly different way.”
...Audience reaction to the shows:
“People don’t quite know what to make of it… but they get drawn in. The word I keep coming back to is ‘transfixed’. Some of the sections are slow, some are energetic, so the energy and pace keeps changing as well as the visual images. I think it’s quite an unusual piece because of that. It’s not your usual ‘beginning, middle and end’ dance piece - it will appeal to people who are interested in all forms of art. It’s an unusual event, it is in celebration of our 21 years of making work and it’s great to be in our home town doing it!”
...Vincent Dance Theatre turning 21:
“I set out 21 years ago to be heard, to express myself through movement and to move people and make them think. With 21 Years / 21 Works I want to draw new audiences in through creative, nostalgic, socio-political, visual, aural, feminist and participatory strands of activity – no longer just aiming for the established ‘dance and theatre’ audiences we have targeted until now.”
To book tickets for the shows, click here.