The opening that establishes the theatrical language of this exciting performance, will come to the Galway International Arts Festival after several successful festival premieres. The show’s creator Geoff Sobelle, wearing a casual shirt and jeans, invites the audience to consider the first place we call home: the people in it, the shape of the building. Then he began to haphazardly build a wall out of a wooden frame and plastic panels. Out of nowhere, a bed appeared: he entered and pulled the blanket up for himself. When the blanket was pulled back, he was gone and a child was waking up instead. That is magic.
Designer/collaborator Steven Dufala’s elaborate suit was built in front of us: the wooden frame of stud walls serves as the kitchen, dining room. Upstairs has a bedroom and bathroom. The seven people living in the house all lived in unison, invisible to each other, most of them performing in movement and pantomime. People jumped in and out of the shower, one after the other.
The child continued to be measured for their height on a doorstep, with a different parent each time. At one point, one performer wore a black dress, the atmosphere changed, and everyone’s every movement became heavy with grief. In due course, the audience will be drawn into the action, given graduation gowns, wedding veils, birthday cakes. A man randomly receives a child (property). There can be more than 20 people on set, like a big house party. Chris Kuhl’s lighting design delivers pure fun, lighting the fairgrounds above our heads.
Director Lee Sunday Evans runs a fascinating business as Neptune controls turbulent seas. Elvis Perkins’ music sets the mood, sometimes a lyrical ballad, sometimes more stealthy. The show was a homecoming meditation, but there was no sermon on the subject, which is unusual in this age of heavy-handed political theater.
Instead, a strange and vibrant kind of mindfulness, where the idea of home is spectacularly conjured up in the mind. It’s whimsical, poignant, and grotesque with an utterly humorous positivity – a quality I associate with a certain type of American.
This is a great interaction with liveability and fun to experience the community; Theater creates a spectacular home to invent and have fun.
Ambitious vision of dancing with light
Satori and Unfolding at An Taibhdhearc, Galway
until Saturday, June 23
Australian choreographer/director Lewis Major combined dance with light in this graceful double disc, delighting viewers with its futuristic technological mood.
The first part, Satori, features four dancers working with illuminated tubes of light: a square turns into a pentagon, the latter resembling a tomb. The tense choreography folds bodies and light around each other like direct origami: ‘satori’ loosely translates from Japanese as ‘awakening’. Tom Kitney’s lighting design is playful, colorful and captivating.
In the second part, Extend, the dance is enhanced by a busy light plot from designer Fausto Brusamolino, creating a sculptural feel with high-tech contemporary laser light. At one point, two dancers appear to hover considerably above a rotating beam. Dry ice thickens the air, the particles catch light. There’s some great pair and group choreography; The technique of the dancers is amazingly perfect. In the finale, the dancers were almost naked, wearing simple clothes with gentle textures, in offensive poses. James Brown’s music is varied, sometimes the piano melody is dominant, sometimes the rhythm is exaggerated.
This is an ambitious vision of what dance and light can do. I sometimes find it a bit dark and want to get a better look at the dancers. But this is business as usual, and Major is pushing its capabilities to an intriguing angle.
Video of the day
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/theatre-arts/comedy/galway-international-arts-festival-house-party-vibe-recreates-the-playfulness-and-magic-of-home-41857675.html Galway International Arts Festival: House party vibes reinterpret the playfulness and magic of home