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Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Compagnie Didier Theron - 'En Forme'

by Lea Marshall

August 9, 2006 -- Aurora Nova, St. Stephen's Church, Edinburgh

It seems that Franz Kafka liked to draw, even doodle in his margins. Some of his drawings, angular and naïve, inspired Didier Theron to create on four dancers (three men and a woman) a movement study by turns comical or strange, but consistently engrossing. A loveseat, a chair, a mattress, and a twin bed composed the set, and as the lights came up, a dancer sat or lay motionless on each.

Slowly the man on the mattress woke, shifted, looked around, turned over again; then suddenly the woman in the chair spun out to the floor and back again. Her movement set off currents of energy through the others that felt like a ball on a tether, arcing out and then abruptly drawn back. By turns, all four dancers flung themselves off the furniture as if projected and then seemed to retrograde back in with equal force.

The stop/start motif, the waves of energy, made the movement feel experimental and questioning: what happens if I crawl under the mattress? What if I use my hand as a pivot to run over and around the bed? Suppose we turn the mattress on its side? At times these investigations tended towards silliness, at times towards intensity.

Two men disappeared behind the upended mattress, then it slid slowly to one side to reveal one of them seated in the chair, a pipe between his teeth. The audience chuckled. The man gazed at the two dancers on the bed, who had paused in the midst of their moving dialogue. The mattress slid in front of him again.

Towards the end, all four converged at the small bed, moving around, over, through it and each other in ongoing, escalating sequences by turns comic, tense, or surreal. And the skill of all four as movers and charismatic performers kept the audience lively and absorbed through the very end, where their bodies piled in a heap slid off the back of the bed and out of sight. Oh, come back and play some more, we wanted to say.

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