counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

October 15th, 2008: Nasser Martin-Gousset – Comedy

@théatre de la ville

My dance season is opening at last. I was a bit wary about this show because of its title, but I liked it a lot, and though being dance-starved probably played a part, I think it was a small one, just enough to offset being too close to the stage.

The stage was set up as the living room of a upscale mansion with a couple of big light blue sofas. The opening segment had a series of would-be burglars interrupting each other when they were trying to open the wall safe hidden behind a painting, then the lights were turned on with guest arriving at a party, all with an upscale sixtiesish feel to it. No dance involved, but that opening sequence was great at setting up a mood, a sophisticated athmosphere with some lingering tension underneath. It did remind me of some movies I saw when I was a kid, but that was so long ago I couldn’t name any of them and had no specific memory; someone who has probably would have a very different experience.

All of these themes would be around throughout, but through dance itself. The movie theme was reinforced by having black and white shots of the dancers projected in the back then, and of course by the end title gimmick at the end — that had also been used in his earlier Peplum.

With this introduction out the way, the four musicians started playing — a lot of Brubeck stuff, not my cup of tea, but consistent — and the dancers started moving in a close group, a slowed down sequence of early party banter turned almost abstract. That was another constant: there was very little acting, because what came closest had something else too, so that it remained about dance throughout. A lot of pure dance as well, with the transition usually seemless, and a lot of different groups, often involving only part of the dancers.

I really felt the party evolve as these things do, with excitement building up then drunkeness and weariness settling in. But what was great about it is that this feeling was conveyed through pure dance at as much as through the more illustrative postures. Then everyone left the stage for a sequence where the dancers figures appeared in black on the colored screen that was previously the back wall. That sequence had an almost cartoonish feel as a huge cartoon outline of a diamond was taken in turn by figures wielding progressively more outlandish weapons.

After that break the dancers and the musicians came back, but the mood was noticeably darker. There were changes in the music as well, with my favorite dance sequences to a more dronish music, not live this time. One feature all dancers taking a couple of steps then stopping bent forward with an arm outstretched for a few seconds, then back again. This was the kind of suspension of reality I expect more from a Lynch movie than the previous references. Then all went back to normal as before, but with more tension and darkness. I did get a bit disturbed by the use of the Beatles’ tomorrow never comes, but that was because that instantly got me thinking about PE’s psycho of greed, which was not appropriate and broke the spell for a short time.

Eventually the guests left and after a few surprises the dancers came back on stage carrying placard with the black and white shots of their faces shown earlier to the strains of Mancini’s Pink Panther theme. I liked that touch, another transition, this time out of the show. I’m really impressed by how this choreographer manages to be enough of a director to blur the lines. I have seen better things as far as pure dance is concerned, but it doesn’t matter to me. I liked it a lot as it was, and that’s all I need.

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October 16, 2008 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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