Halifax, prepare yourselves for another captivating experience by Out Innerpsace Dance Theatre, the company from Vancouver whom brought you Me so You so Me.
David Raymond and Tiffany Tregarthen’s brainchild, Major Motion Picture, alongside 5 other dancers procured from their training program Modus Operandi, frames dance cinematically allowing the audience to lose themselves in a work centred around the self and other while questioning themes relating to our current political and social atmosphere. Listening to David talk about the work I really got the sense he has dug so deep that it lives in him. Where many artists struggle to find relatable points of interest David’s clarity was crystal even at the end of a long day and far journey from the West Coast. This time they bring with them a cast of five more dancers (Laura Avery, Ralph Escamillan, Elissa Hanson, Arash Khakpour and Renée Sigouin) playing almost double the number of characters.
Stemming from the cinematic process the seven have created a world where inhabitants of the stage capitalize in the light, while the others living mostly off stage are encroaching on the sought after territory. Designing the world through the cinematic frame they’ve worked with James Proudfoot their lighting designer to captivate the eye; entering in and out of tableaus and make believe to question a part of many of our lives that is often taken for granted. In this 21st century reality we live, media inundates us with stories, narratives, and characters we fall in love with or love to hate. The questions arise from how cinema directs beauty. Moulding make believe, cosmetics and contrived situational dilemmas into perceived ideologies; the Western ideals create notions for us all to latch onto and perceive as truth. How does film form our perception of love relationships, expectations of life and general experiences? Do we expect an outcome that has been framed by light and beauty only to realize those very expectations have been contrived by something else?
Raymond goes on to paint a vivid picture of how we watch film. Sitting alone, in the dark, or even with company but mostly it is a very lonely personal experience of another reality while we ourselves are glued stationary, pupils contracting and opening letting the light framed by someone else seep into our daily life.
Blog post personal story alert! I remember as a teenager (when I questioned everything!) realizing one day the characters I watched on tv very rarely watched tv themselves. It was a bit of an existential moment as I thought, how boring it would be to watch someone on tv go to work and come home to flop on the couch to watch tv. And from then on I questioned the worth of the black box so central to our lives; how could I make my life worth watching; even experiencing?
Major Motion Picture will provide a platform for the viewer to have a deeply personal experience, leaving open the individual to relate in various ways. Complimented by recognizable soundtracks from Western films and (a favourite of mine) Alfred Hitchcock films, the duo hope to create an experience for the audience that delves into the concept of “us” versus “other” and “self” versus “other self” the work is made of many layers created from inspiration including Slavoj Žižek and the deconstruction of political structures.
As you take in this show, do not expect to be propagated with ideologies of their own, although Raymond admits it is almost impossible to be completely objective in choreographic decision making. The show will present a mini structure from which outcomes could occur; a fictional world that highlights skeletal frameworks present in our world. As the two sides of characters unmask themselves in front of the audience, you may find yourself projecting a narrative onto their make believe. In the wake of very charged political events, you may be inclined to directly relate the work to various modern day issues. But take a pause and ask yourself, where does this first reaction to relate come from? Are these structures in place to befuddle (what, really that’s a word?!?) us into taking everything for truth?
Enter, the master of ceremonies. Raymond describes the character made of three dancers in one coat as a him. The third party character, Raymond explains, acts as a curator to the conflict between. As he begins to manipulate the light and the sound, we will see how this faceless character is integral to the whole paradigm.
Alright, let’s take a breath. As a dancer movement is freedom but as an artist, concept is like freefall (the good kind with a bungee cord attached to your ankles) so.. I tend to get entangled in ideas, but you may wonder where is the dance in all of this? Well take a look at this video and you’ll see that the movement workshopped cleverly by the seven collaborators is as constructive, pungent and carefully thought out as the concept. From last year’s performance of Me so You So Me, I know to expect technically charged and supple physicality.
8PM/Thurs-Saturday/ 8-10 Dec/2016
Sir James Dunn Theatre 6101 University Ave.