Saturday, September 3, 2011

REVIEW: Can We Talk About This? by DV8 Physical Theatre


Shatin Town Hall, Friday September 2

“Can We Talk About This?” was hardly asking the permission to talk about talking but rather literally asking whether it has the ability to talk about talking. In fact, the title almost sounded more like somebody has asked, “can you talk about this?” and DV8 repeated the question and set out to prove that indeed it can and it did eloquently and breath-takingly last night.

This new Lloyd Newson production for UK’s DV8 Physical Theatre, “Can We Talk About This?” premiered a week ago at the Spring Dance Festival (Sydney Opera House) and made its Asian premiere last night at the Shatin Town Hall. Newson’s penchant for dealing with psychological and socio-political issues has never been more significant and substantial than the subject of Islam, the freedom and the lack of freedom to talk about it. From the question, “Do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?” to the burning of Salman Rusdie’s “Satanic Verses”, from the murder of Theo Van Gogh to Zena Briggs flee from forced marriage, from Ann Cryer’s campaign against forced marriage to the controversy of the Muhammad cartoons in 2005, Newson’s production scrutinizes the effects of these events on the policies, the press and the public.

As Newson casts according to the subject matter and performers’ appropriateness for each new project (DV8 has no permanent company of performers), this production is not only infused with performers that look and talk the part, but also renders the production an ample level of diversity and fluidity. It plays to the strength of the each individual in the solo parts, while group performances were directed with precisions that challenges DV8’s own boundary, both aesthetically and physically.

In this production, performers speak and move relentlessly. They were together yet somehow they were not connecting. They may move with synchronicity but flickers of polarity were never far and were never more jarring. The language of the movements was responsive to the sensitive and divisive topic Newson has chosen and broke down the barriers between theatre and dance. At the end of the day, the centerpiece of this production is the risks it took in subject and form.

DV8’s last visit to Hong Kong was in 2000 with “Can We Afford This?” As much as we sometimes feel that Hong Kong is a cultural desert, it takes a lot of vision and guts to bring such a thought-provoking performance to Hong Kong. Leisure and Cultural Services Department got it brilliantly right this time. Bravo.

_____

Can We Talk About This?
September 2-4 2011
Auditorium, Shatin Town Hall

Creative Team
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY Lloyd Newson
ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR / COMPANY MANAGER Elizabeth Mischler
CHOREOGRAPHY Lloyd Newson and the performers
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT / CHOREOGRAPHY ASSISTANTS Ermira Goro, Hannes Langolf, Ira Mandela Siobhan
SET AND COSTUME DESIGN Anna Fleischle
LIGHTING DESIGN Beky Stoddart
VIDEO ARTIST Tim Reid

PERFORMERS Joy Constantinides, Lee Davern, Kim-Jomi Fischer, Ermira Goro, Hannes Langolf, Samir M’Kirech, Christina May, Seeta Patel, Anwar Russell, Ira Mandela Siobhan

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1 Comments:

At September 3, 2011 at 11:07 PM , Anonymous HT said...

Satoshi, eloquently put! Though I'm still digesting the contents of last night's performance, heavy stuff indeed...

 

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