I joined a very mixed aged audience the other evening at Hull New Theatre (I’m talking a few months old to pensioners) for the Motionhouse production. I was not sure what to expect as I sat down and perused the programme: “…Each dancer plays two roles – a crow and a human. The crows represent our inner voice – the voice we hear in our heads.” Hmmm ok, how will they portray this?
It was a very strange first act, full of angst as the Crows became the inner voices. Dancers entered the stage with bird like movements, not daintily flying but with grounded poses and posturing heads representing the crows. They entered as one character and in the next dance were humans, this element of the production was handled effectively and seamlessly.
The backdrop was projected buildings in some unknown city, and a skyline which constantly moved
forwards and backwards (which was a bit unsettling at times, making me feel a bit dizzy). There were also
flocks of crows flying around, and occasionally as one settled and landed, it would look around, and I
found this quite fascinating.
There was also a cube on stage, a very large cube and a number of images were very cleverly projected onto it to stand out but also to blend with the backdrop projected image. The dancers would then move the cube around accordingly.
This must have taken a great deal of practice and was very impressive, particularly how the cube continued to show the projected image as it moved around. The programme advises that this is also part of the choreography and each movement of the cube had to be done to certain counts of the music. It was so impressive that a guy in the front stalls stood up and applauded!
Following on from this, the cube lost its covering and the dancers then proceeded to interact with the it, dancing in, on and around it with circus-like displays of dance. Given the size of the cube and its make up, this was very impressive!
With all the angst and excitement of the first act we all greeted the interval feeling as if we had watched an adaptation of Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and hoped that the second act would be lighter. Luckily it was. It opened very impressively with our cube in the back and dancers lifting up their heads from a prone position. What made this impressive was that they were beneath a very large cloth with holes cut in places for the dancers to appear as the cloth represented waves.
One by one they came out, and some eventually made it to the safety of the cube. I can’t put into words how impressive this scene looked, although I was disappointed when the ‘sea’ wrapped up, but not for long as it wrapped up into a dancers very long skirt as she stood atop another dancer’s shoulders! (all underneath the sea cloth). We were then back to the cube!
The angst did eventually resolve in the second act and we eventually returned to the cube as a backdrop as the ‘humans’ all came out in full force to mingle.
I loved the crows, (I find Corvids fascinating and intelligent birds) and I enjoyed the implementation of circus-style dances and acts by the very talented cast of dancers. They were well rehearsed and very slick. Unfortunately, it was only in Hull for one day, but if they come back, do go and see this fascinating combo of circus and contemporary dance!