Sleepwalk Collective, I went to see As the Flames Rose We Danced to the Sirens, the Sirens.
Apart from my usual proviso of 'coulda cut 15 minutes'
I loved its energy, use of music, microphone, darkness/spotlights and film. It felt very fresh, more theatre than live literature but
ultimately a spoken word, stream of consciousness performance. A sequence of small
actions in a large black-box stage.
1. After a brief intro she pulled the mic up her body, accompanied by a v
loud soundtrack: starting at the ankle, along the ripping of her leg,
an oceanic stomach, thudding heart with poppy love song, to the silence
of her head. Very affecting, mapping a new physicality.
2. Sitting in the circle of a train track she demonstrates how various
people in various situations might drink a glass of wine: a man wanting
to seduce a woman, like this... a woman wanting to forget everything,
like this... a solider taking his final drink, like this...
3. In between these scenarios she decribes extreme deaths of people or
herself - falling from a window, as part of a 'edgy experimental'
performance, in the middle of an ocean, over the top joke deaths...
4. She sets a small train running, steps out of the track circle,
ties her hands together and poses to scream delicately (as in 1930 b-movies). Screams again.
The train circles around her. Then she falls over, screams to be
silenced by the train running into her mouth.
5. Sets a film running, light screened onto black curtains, lies in
front of it, and feeds a camera down her throat - get the muscular
tongue, wetness on the screen as a recording talks about how she is viewed...
6. Walks away from film, into darkness. Switches on an underlight, so
her face is distorted. Describes and enacts scenes (just with minimal
facial expressions) from a Greta Garbo film, close up, underlit. Sort of funny, sort of sad.
7. Offers herself to the audience, we can do anything to her, kiss her, touch her, we have a minute to go up to her. The audience shuffles.
8. Declares she wants to fall into an image. Sets the film running
again. This time it's a loop of a b/w film of a woman discovering the
dead body of a man, swooning, to be supported by another man. She dances
in front of the screen, so we have her enormous silhouette projected on
the screen and the film projected on to her. Beautiful movement,
After which everything seemed a bit pale.
Throughout, though I loved its humour, playfulness, intimacy, earnestness, her presence, the
self-awareness / self-mockery without being pretentious.
They're performing again in June in Harrogate (of all places).