Sunday, 2 November 2014

Magic Moments... Made for Sharing

Here is my weekly list of five really cool things that I saw, heard or thought while I was about being a critic. Plus two rubbish ones, just from life, really.

The pas de deux between Mina and her husband (Dracula @Tramway). 
Another good bit(e)
Mark Bruce is big on the 'pas de deux equals people having sex' equation, and never more so than when Mina and Jonathan have their honeymoon night together. Capturing both characters' tentative intimacy, while establishing their sense of alienation even in the act of love, it encouraged the dancers to stretch themselves (literally and metaphorically) to present a sensual, hesitant union.  When the other characters came back on stage, it felt like they had barged into the bedroom. 

Guy Veale's soundscape (OOG @ The Arches).
Despite its reputation as a venue for alternative performance, The Arches is a tough space to work: the rumbling of trains overhead can be distracting. Veale's soundscape for Al Seed's exercise in physical precision was both tough enough to conquer the rumbles, and porous enough to incorporate them into the overall atmosphere. Switching between My Bloody Valentine, ambient (and probably illbient) numbers and a jaunty spot of old time jazz, Veale lent Seed's post-apocalyptic soldier an immersive, daunting dark atmosphere.

Putin's Photograph on the wall (Leviathan @ Glasgow Film Theatre).
A Russian take on The Book of Job was never likely to be a chuckle-fest, but the subtle pointers to the corruption of the ruling elite through Leviathan made it as much political satire as theodicy. In a key scene, when the corrupt mayor is confronted by the over-sexed lawyer (no-one is innocent in this film), a framed portrait of an anemic looking Putin is just above their heads throughout the scene, making it clear that evil is one thing that does work in trickle-down economic theory.

Victor Zarallo and Sophie Martin (Scottish Ballet Up Close @ Tramway).
At the risk of being another critic whom Sophie Martin has to arrange a restraining order, the brief pas de deux Jealousy by James Cousins in SB's mixed mixed bill was another reminder of how she is becoming one of the most exciting dancers in Scotland, meshing contemporary energy with classical technique. Bathed in red light, and teetering between the erotic and the despairing, Cousin's choreography gave both dancers a showcase that insists on ballet's ability to explore emotional extremes without compromising on its rigorous physicality.

The Words on the Body (Autumn Nerve Dance @ Old Hairdressers).
Paul  Michael Henry is always good for a bit of butoh inspired action, but Prof Lavery (academics - if you tell me, I'll steal it) pointed out a layer to this dance. Henry's use of projected cut-ups covered his body, emphasising the failure of words to express whatever Henry's movements were trying to manifest - but their disappearance left Henry's body bare and vulnerable. Not just some funky moves, Autumn Nerve Dance posed a question about how words might shape our identities, even if they are merely reflections on the surface of our bodies...

And here's the rubbish...

That Bloke In Front of Me (Autechre @ The Art School).
When he turned round and said in a loud voice that 'this was the most abstract thing ever made,' I wondered whether his comment on Autechre's electronic lesson in history (I'll get to it) was profound or just a stupid bit of showing off that revealed an ignorance of, say conceptual art  or Xenakis' compositions. I was pondering what he meant when he followed this up with 'and there is only one sound going on at a time', which was audibly wrong. 

Him wearing a comedy sanitary towel fancy dress on Halloween (Total Fucking Nightmare Walk Home @ Sauchiehall Street). 
The internet proves this is not an
isolated activity. Thanks, internet.
While it was a bold move to challenge the hegemony of the 'sexy' halloween fashions (I was more conservative and went for 'sexy William Burroughs), the man who was wearing a big bloody tampon wasn't committed enough to the feminist subtext to really pull it off. Actually, given that halloween is supposed to be about monsters (even 'sexy nurse' had a bit of blood on her - either because she was being top beat combo Nurse with Wound ((c) Lorna Irvine) or she'd cut herself on her nasal accent), wearing a towel suggests an innate fear of menstruation. 

There is, of course, another joke about where these towels are usually found, and what this makes him, but I think that's going into misogynistic territory. 

No comments :

Post a Comment