SUN by Hofesh Schechter Company – Sadler’s Wells Theatre
This is a wonderful, epic and cinematic work which also plays with the language of theatre. Shechter’s intelligent creation explores violence by constantly playing with audience expectation and overturning it through humour, political allusion and challenging choreography. His dance vocabulary is often simian and his use of large groups brings a power to the stage that occasionally is reminiscent of Macmillan’s The Rite of Spring. Here is a hugely talented ensemble in which Schechter also dances.
Does his work have a narrative? If so it is fractured. As a musician he mixes genres to disturb his audience. Abide With Me played on bagpipes is counterpointed with heavy drumming or Elizabethan courtly music. His fragments from Let’s Face The Music and Dance has a bittersweet irony. No image lasts long. He uses imaginative lighting to suggest a man being watched by a drone or is it a star? His seriousness is undercut by a series of flat cardboard sheep that cross the stage. This is child’s play and is heightened by the wolf that tails the sheep. As the work develops there is a narrative line suggesting a critique of militarism and yet he never stops reminding the audience that this is a dance piece as dancers drop ‘character’ and break the fourth wall.
Rich in multiple meanings, Sun is an intriguing creation. For me it had an international and Middle Eastern hinterland. For the English dance students leaving the theatre there was an implicit reference to the childhood game What Time Is It Mr Wolf?
The time we are all going to die.
Julia Pascal © 2013.