Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Contemporary? Dramaturgy: Agne Ramanauskaite, Paulius Tamole and Mantas Stabacinskas @ Edfringe 2016

ZOO (Venue 124)
Aug 5-20 5.15pm

Arts Printing House presents a Lithuanian phenomenon. Good parody should amuse, surprise and, above all, surpass the source material. When three artists join forces to send up (and celebrate) their country’s contemporary dance scene, they tick all the boxes. Witness for (probably) the first time in (Lithuanian) history as these daring performers hold a mirror up to the contemporary dance world. No trite movement forgotten, no embarrassing costume detail overlooked, no hackneyed phrase omitted. Affectionate and acerbic in equal measure, Contemporary? is a lovingly crafted, self-deprecating homage to po-faced cliché.

Contemporary? - Dramaturgy Database
Credit: D.Matvejevas

What was the inspiration for Contemporary?
We were working with various Lithuanian and foreign artists and took part in creating many great performances. We are not only collegues, but good friends too, so it was only a matter of time before we felt that we wanted to show how we see contemporary dance: what it means to us, how do we understand it and why it is important to us.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Exactly three years ago Agne called Paulius and suggested creating a performance together. He agreed, but only if a third person would join as he didn‘t want it to be a two-person performance, because usually these duets are condemned to explore a relationship between a man and a woman and end with love. They were friends and stage partners so they decided to invite Mantas to join them.

How did you first become interested in making performance?
We really wanted to create a performance that would be ironic, fun and would make us and the viewer laugh. There were two choices: either cry or laugh at our selves and cliches of our work. We prefered the second one so we leapt at it. In general, we think that laughter is very healthy and it is better to use when telling your story, rather than crying and looking miserable.

Contemporary? - Dramaturgy Database
Credit: D.Matvejevas
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
On one hand, we are showing our creative process – how the performance was created from the very beggining. But on the other hand, we are revealing painful and sensitive moments in our creative work. This means that the audience actualy chooses themselves what to see – they can watch an easy-to-read story about the creative process, or explore the deeper topics that are encoded in our performance. We let the viewer decide, which to focus on more.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Two stories are being told in our performace – the one about the creation of the performace and the one about us, about who we are and how we feel. Both stories interlace and inform each other. We leave dance and text to tell everything else, but the most important part of our strategy is being honest and open with everyting we do on stage.

Do you see your work falling within any particular tradition?

We have traveled to ten different countries with this show. We have shown it in places, where the art of contemporary dance is very well known and in places where it is just being discovered. We have been to very different places and acted in front of very different audiences, but we have noticed one thing – this performance does not leave anyone indifferent.

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