FloJo Dance, No More Drama
Sophie Duncan White|Label, UNSOUND
Evangelia Kolyra, Laugh & Cry
With the kind of unexpected serendipity that can occur amidst the often haphazard Resolution! programming, Thursday’s strong set of pieces shared a common thread: narrative.
Five dancers playing individual, slow-motion games of charades set up FloJo Dance’s No More Drama, a series of abstract scenes juxtaposed against a film-quoting voiceover and an intermittent, chirpy soundtrack. Fleeting connections between movement and score created a game of spot the (dis)association, allowing the audience to assemble their own interpretation. A detailed movement language was delivered with gratifying precision by the cast, and Floengard-Jonsson’s keen eye for spatial arrangement and pacing kept things tight. All that was lacking was a touch more gusto in the theatrical moments.
Sophie Duncan made a lasting impression in UNSOUND, a text-heavy solo that was frequently confusing but never dull. Completely inhabiting her role as the fast-talking Ruby Duke, a Hunter S Thompson inspired creation on a quest for the American Dream, Duncan displayed comic and physical deftness. Gloomy lighting was added to by a flickering TV and lamp which was used to great effect, one moment a torch shedding ghostly light on her face, then a car headlight suddenly and surprisingly turned on the audience. There were plenty of other neat touches; Duncan awakening in a suitcase bed, a coat hanger swinging across the scene as a trapeze, but the speech was sometimes difficult to hear. With a physicality easily strong enough to evoke her tale, perhaps Duncan could have talked less and moved more.
Evangelia Kolyra’s Laugh & Cry skilfully trod the line between humour and pathos. Extreme facial expressions were offered to the audience and gradually turned on each other, hinting at shared memories or scenes from a story. Always aware of being watched, and of what they may be disclosing, the three performers simultaneously invited the audience in and made us feel like intruders. A petulant struggle became disconcertingly violent until one dancer took charge, manipulating and arranging the others with sinister intent. Brief, but incisive.
On a mission to embrace the random and the silly - a catch-all brief if ever there was one - choreographer Karin Floengard Jonsson gave her five-strong FloJo Dance group a rather intangible task in No More Drama. Very loosely inspired by disparate cinematic quotes and scenes, here was a dance in desperate need of a connecting theme. As an irritating voiceover trotted out scraps of dialogue, the performers aped a bit of Tarantino here, possibly a scrap of Scorsese there. Paul Simon and T.Rex put in an appearance, no idea why. It ended in slow-mo, leaving me baffled and slightly bored.
Sophie Duncan, performing under the tag White|Label set herself quite a task in Unsound: a one woman deconstruction of the American Dream, told through the character of journo Ruby Duke. Evoking the gonzo ghost of Hunter S. Thompson Duncan gamely flitted between Jimi Hendrix and the flying trapeze - an archly symbolic representation of getting high - and successfully created a mood of dissolute genius as newsreels crackled away on a TV behind her. But there was a sense that, as a character, Duke hadn’t quite bedded down. The story was told in a rush, leaving little time to read between the lines and Duke was too eager to please when she should have been giving the audience the finger.
From frolicking to fighting and all the moments in between, the freeze frame moments caught by the trio of performers in Evangelia Kolyra’s Laugh & Cry ran the gamut of human emotions. In essence this was a less ambitious piece than the two which had proceeded it, the dancers tasked with providing what amounted to a photo album of emotions, highlighting the contrast between our inner and outer personae. But Kolyra’s canny eye for detail brought her characters alive, their joys and sorrows believable, amusing and moving. Sometimes less is more.