5 July 2014

All The Things You Said You Never Said Before You Thought You Could Ever Say

Yes, that's the title of a performance I went to see at Dance City, Newcastle on 28th June.

An unexpected text message invite led to one of the most interesting and creative performances I’ve seen all year. Dance City hosted Compagnie T’d-U, an internationally renowned dance company and their physical theatre/dance piece on relationships and the patterns we can find ourselves in, the said and unsaid and the importance of expression in our closest relationships.

We are introduced to two female characters (Zuzana Kakalikova and Gema Galiana) and two males (Guillaumarc Froidevaux and writer Anthony Nikolchev), and gradually realise that they are playing one couple, which each character split in two both mirroring and acting independently of each other.  This device also helps with the repetition that is key to the story – both female characters can repeat their growing frustrations, both males can respond with more gusto. They accurately depict the daily routine of a couple through movement - sleeping, arguing over breakfast and doing the laundry - the mundanities of relationships.  The wooden table which is spun around, sat upon and covered in coffee stains is akin to a casket, an empty box representing what can happen to a relationship.
Not far into the piece, I wondered silently how dancers could be such good actors, as there was a lot of dialogue for a dance performance. I only found out afterwards that they weren’t trained dancers. These guys can do it all. The movement and transitions are stunning, choreographed by Vivien Wood, an international performer and choreographer who wowed audiences with Exile last year.  Some of the lifts are highly technical and romantic, it’s not all doom and gloom. The dancing reminds us that there is still passion, even in the middle of the incessant nit picking and game playing.

With a powerful and resonating text written by Anthony Nikolchev which can be both devastating and laugh out loud funny in a heartbeat, many of the monologues and exchanges will be familiar to any audience member that has felt frustration in a relationship. Gema Galiana’s inappropriate reaction to her male counterpart(s) at one point was brilliant, showing how we can’t always be expected to react appropriately. Some of the text where one half of a couple wants the other half to be impressed with them hits home too. It certainly is complicated.

I loved the international aspect to the production, as the performers hail from the USA, Spain, Switzerland and Bratislava. Foreign language is well used in some places to express anger. Kakalikova and Froidevaux created Compagnie T’d-U, and all the performers are part of Wroclaw’s Studio Matejka, where they do research into physical expression. It shows. Watching their Youtube videos is like witnessing a creative explosion on your screen.

The music perfectly fitted the mood, with the main contributors being Bach and modern jazz. Guillaumarc created an analog loop as one of the larger pieces of music involved which was blended with the Northern Sinfonia Principal Violinist Bradley Creswick’s interpretation of Bach’s Musical Offering. This piece can be played both forwards and backwards in both directions, which fits with the sense that the two characters see the same event from dramatically different perspectives.

The first thing my friend said to me at the end was that she wanted a certain person to watch it again with her. I got the feeling that this was someone that she had experienced these repeated patterns with. She wasn’t alone in that. I half laughed at the irony that by doing that she would avoid saying what was difficult to say. Very powerful stuff.
For more information on Compagnie T-d'U - http://www.cietdu.com

Photographs by John FG Stead
Future shows
Friday 11th July, Caedmon Hall, Central Library, Gateshead 7.30pm Tickets £8/£6 (conc)  www.gateshead.gov.uk/whatson

For more information on Dance City please visit www.dancecity.co.uk/

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