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New Tapestry Potatoes & Sauce

Mara Vivas Triptych

.2Dot I'm sorry you're leaving

 

It was a Goldilocks experience at Resolution! this evening. Slightly undercooked, Potatoes & Sauce traverses the boundaries of circus and dance. Hege Eriksdatter Østefjells performs an aerial solo suspended by tendrils of transparent tubing. Like locks of silky hair, Eriksdatter Østefjells coils them around her limbs as she twists and turns weaving her way through a gravity-free world. The choreography bumps up against spoken words recalling images of dreams and everyday conversations. The quality of sound score and its relationship with the visual identity of the work needs recalibrating so that all the aspects of the piece are pulling in the same direction

It was great to see a company of older performers take the coveted final slot of the evening. Given a partial standing ovation by the audience, I'm sorry you're leaving offers an eclectic smorgasbord of self-styled autobiographical stories. Childhood memories rub alongside a blindfolded tango and a tap dancing bride. The performers appear to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Larger than life, they cajole the audience to dive headlong into the absurd. But the piece is lumpy and the performances are overcooked. A healthy dose of irony is the missing ingredient to counter moments of overbearing pantomime and allow the work to resonate at a deeper level.

Neither too hot nor too cold, Mara Vivas's Triptych is a deliciously slow burn. In the half light three dancers form a tableaux. The air around them is thick and they splice through the space with a series of arm gestures that escape upwards and outwards. There is a sinister undertow to the work. Vivas's Grecian muses in their colour splashed tunics hint at an unspoken tragedy. Vivas is patient, courting a restless audience with simplicity and imagination. This approach pays dividends. The work is intoxicating and immersive without the need for bangs or whistles. With her sensitivity to mood and attention to detail Vivas has a promising talent.

Philippa Newis


Talk about an eclectic night! New Tapestry’s Potatoes & Sauce (huh?) exemplifies The Place’s growing links to circus-based dance-theatre. There was a puzzling, sensual beauty in strong, flexible Hege Eriksdatter Ostefjells’ solo, as she shifted up from the squelch of bare hands and feet on a clingfilm carpet to dangle centrestage via gelatinously gleaming strands of spaghetti-like plastic. Those tangled threads carried a metaphorical resonance undermined by voice-over text (dreamily vague content adequately spoken and poorly broadcast). An intriguing piece as yet too ungrounded for its own good.

Commencing with dancers facing upstage slowly stretching out and recoiling their arms, Mara VivasTriptych took time to unfold. Patience was rewarded with what developed into a crisp, accomplished and miniaturist female trio. Clad in Susanne Stangl’s quietly eye-catching shifts (thin grey stripes on the back, floral stains on the front), serenely alert Elisabeth Schilling, Julie Schmidt and Fabiola Santana functioned as a painstakingly slippery clockwork unit. Was it one person or three-in-one stepping about the bare stage? A tantalisingly unresolved tension gradually revealed itself. The result? A finely fleshed-out illustration of how the ‘right’ kind of ambiguity of interpretation can arise from clarity of intention.

2Dot’s I’m sorry you’re leaving was problematic. On the one hand it’s great to see four mischief-making mature performers strut their stuff. Or was it, given how cheaply cartoonish they were sometimes made to seem? Certain moments clicked, e.g., Jill Connick’s tap-dancing bride, Angela Frampton’s line about her father’s expectations (‘I wasn’t the girl he had in mind for his only son’), Roger Cox’s unadorned wedding memories and the idea of Gilly Hanna’s voracious siren’s glee. Older people certainly merit showcasing in a dance scene still dominated by youth. But too often co-creators Antonio Branco and Riccardo Tarocco’s faulty directorial hand left the overindulged cast stranded. These old troupers got by, but in a determinedly doolally fashion. Unspooling like third-rate Pina Bausch, this work failed to fulfil its potential. There were cheers after the shapeless finale, but the truth is that the depths of the lives on view were at best hinted at and at worst reduced to folly.

Donald Hutera

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