Robin Boon Dale from the UK

Robin Boon Dale from the UK

BE Festival – Friday

Birmingham Rep

Themes of love and inclusion still continued as the BE Festival set up for its third day of arts celebrations from Europe.

Tonight saw an interesting mix of performance art, including dance and juggling. We had performances by companies from Italy, Greece, UK and Hungary. With an entertaining evening, we were open to strong political statements and visually entertaining productions.

The first production of the night was performed by the Italian dance artist Claudia Catarzi, with 40,000 Centimetri Quadrati. Her dance exploration highlighted the ideas of being confined to a small space.

Carazi’s one woman piece was magnificent in technical skill and was visually strong. Her performance space was a small white box on the ground and showed that the consequences would be dangerous if she stepped out of her safe haven within. Her body was a strong tool to create unbelievable shapes to tell a striking story about fear and personal development. Her Italian style was modern and stylistic and was a fantastic testament to the physical abilities that our bodies can give us. Her background soundtrack and stylistic dance moulded into one single stylised piece which revealed a powerful statement of physicality. It was a strong piece of modern art through the medium of dance.

ODC Ensemble performed Revolt Athens in the second performance of the night. This was political theatre at its finest and held unequivocal passion that informed people of the economic and social state of modern Athens.

With a history of art, story, myth and modern thinking that spans thousands of years, Greece is rich with culture. Now as a European country, ODC Ensemble showed us Athens from the inside. They dispelled all blurry-eyed romanticism to reveal a stinging political truth about a daily struggle from the result of economic crisis.

They articulately displayed the realities of the communities slowly decreasing in thriving prosperity. Their creative set showed Athens as a dolls-house model. They had the famous Acropolis within and shadows of tall buildings from neighbourhoods created silhouettes upon walls. Their script provided a thought provoking analysis of modern Greece. They were tour guides, creating an exciting advert for the exciting city and we even joined them with a dance on stage. They instantly shifted by whispering the true reality of the struggle of each neighbourhood.

The scary atmosphere of a burning Athens was depicted as metallic sounds of an electric guitar were heard with striking images of riots and street wars were projected upon the back screen. This was a hard-hitting political statement and it was important for the wider world to see this insider’s perspective.

What Does Stuff Do was an impressive piece of Circus Theatre performed by Robin Boon Dale from the UK. With a technically impressive script that much reminded us of a scientific analysis of physics and movement, Boon Dale showed us how the art of juggling and ping pong can help us to answer the questions of everyday life. If the production had no dialogue, it would still have been an exceptional piece. The added layer of Boon Dale’s brilliant mind was displayed through his detailed exploration of our relationship towards inanimate objects. He explained that all objects are tools that serve a purpose. He asked what would be revealed if we manipulate their regular purpose into something different. The results were outstanding as he used the great craft of juggling for an entertaining and informative production.

The last performance came from the Hungarian dance company Timothy and the Things who performed Waiting for Schrodinger. It was a physical theatre analysis at the Schrodinger theory of the cat being both alive and dead. This performance dictated that the audience have an open mind, as it was interpretive and metaphoric. Their ideas explored the ways in which the world and the people in it can be abstract, yet understandably human at the same time. The company of six worked in tandem with each other, displaying stylistic movements to create a story that was up to the audience to interpret as they wished, with the intention of everybody making up their own mind about the ways in which the body and mind work together. They highlighted the absurdity of human relationships through daring and modernistic dance. The BE festival runs to 08-07-17.

Elizabeth Halpin


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