Sunday, 20 May 2012

Push [BRIGHTON FESTIVAL 2012]

A CAPTIVATING DANCE PERFORMANCE
WITH NOTHING EXCEPT 
TWO GUYS PUSHING EACH OTHER.


THIS NEAR-VIOLENT LOOK AT
THE COMPLEX DYNAMICS OF RELATIONSHIPS 
WAS A TRULY INTENSE SPECTACLE.



What's It All About Then?
Free performance held in Marina Square, Brighton Marina on Saturday 19th May as part of the Brighton Festival 2012. Choreographed and performed by Company Chameleon, also known as Kevin Edward Turner and Anthony Missen.

With no props or staging, minimal musical input and not a word of dialogue, this piece is described by the creators as "....look[ing] at the different stances we take when we relate to one another, and how the complex nature of our psychology means at times we push to exert our dominance and control, and at others we submit and yield".



So Was It Any Good?
+++ Powerful Expression +++
With such stripped back tools at their disposal, these guys manage to convey a vast and deep set of feelings. 


To begin with, one actor will take control. He will grab the other - quite violently at times - and positions his counter into a pose. He may then force the pose to change. He may step back for a second and look at how the other is positioned. They will then come back together into an embrace before finally control is balanced - the other actor moves freely again.


After this the other actor may take the lead, again moving his counter to his will and directing the flow of motion. The serene expression of one is matched with a fierce glare from the other - and at times they gaze at each other as if in love.


The piece for me invoked the ebb and flow of a dysfunctional relationship - I couldn't pinpoint if the guys were showing a romantic relationship or something akin to a broken sibling relationship - but the trademark signs were there. They would be together for a while, make peaceful collaborative efforts before a tense, sinister scene ensues - a fight - an argument - or maybe just a confrontation - where both will come away separately, injured and upset. This won't last long however - sooner or later they will rejoin, intertwine their lives and start the whole hostile cycle once more.

+++ Such Strength +++
The positions held by these two guys - for ten seconds at a time or more - are feats of incredible strength. Their bodies held rigid and still even while in the most awkward of poses. At times, the crowd gasped in incredulity at the impressive lifts and rolls shown by these talented performers.










They were well timed, well executed and gobsmacking to see in real life. The pictures shown here are just a small selection of the dozens of carefully woven holds that they showed during their thirty minute show. There was no need for acrobatic flips or equipment - just these two slowly floating around the stage, spinning and holding each other beautifully. 

--- Noise Complaints ---
My only real gripe with the performance was the sound. The music which accompanied was fairly minimal - light electronic chords chimed in and out with the movement.


It worked very well - in principle - and helped convey the troubled and jagged emotions behind the scenes.


The problem was that the discordant notes that emphasised key points were slightly unpleasant on the ears - this would have been a bit of a negative point on its own - but in addition to this the small speaker set was turned up way too high.


It couldn't handle the high notes along with the low bass notes and so came out as a screeching noise during these peaks. If the performance has taken more account of the speakers that were being used - and made sure to turn them down slightly or edit the music so that these parts were less painfully amplified - then I wouldn't have been distracted from the utterly amazing visuals. A small issue with a great performance.



Conclusions
Push was a fantastic display of what these two guys can do - create a powerful, moving piece that is both carefully acted and skilfully danced.


The visuals were absolutely spot on -
the sound was a minor issue that I may not have experienced if I was sitting much further away from the speakers - 
but I wanted the best view for this beautiful artistic performance.

Feel free to post comments or contributions to improve the experience!
Any images in this review were taken by Brighton Games Trader.

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