Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Liz Roche Company, 'Interloper': Nowhere to Go

Could Liz Roche's dance about un-belonging also be a dance that doesn't belong to convention? 

Samuel Beckett Theatre
Feb 27-Mar 1

My review of Interloper by Liz Roche coming up after the jump ...

In the opening moments of Liz Roche's Interloper we hear a voiceover of its choreographer describing how she envisions her new production. What reads as a list of stage directions is unsuccessfully followed by performers, motioning awkwardly, drifting occasionally towards a monitor that shows footage of a different, possibly more accomplished dance.

If scholars use the the term "postdramatic" to denote theatre's continued relationship with drama in a time after the authority of drama itself, then perhaps Roche is exploring dance's relationship with movement where motion isn't the primary device. For example, her cast consists of only one other dancer (Henry Montes) aside from an actor (Caitríona Ní Mhurchú) and a percussionist (Bryan O'Connell). Even Joe Vanek's stark set is barely worn and feels more like a visual object to be observed in its own right.

In having us compare the dance performance shown on the monitor to the stilted live action onstage Roche is having her production, like an interloper, encroach illegitimately on convention. Funnily, it's actually more affective in its representation than in its deconstruction.

When movements flow they build towards intrusions. We see Roche orbiting the rest of the cast, stalking naively at first. With an unreasoning turn she then drapes her body over O'Connell, thrashing until the drummer loses his beat. Elsewhere, Montes matches her movements until a rude click of his fingers sends a crude message: you're not welcome here.

Ní Mhurchú, though a 'non-dancer', can still glide, and her monologue describing an actress's estrangement from the stage is the more obvious allusion to the dance's theme of un-belonging. Even our experience of watching Interloper is interfered with. When choreography is allowed to build our attention is distracted by the drummer's scurrying search for a beat, scraping the walls of the venue.

Roche's production doesn't really propose a place beyond dance or movement, and its pace becomes strained from attempting such. However, this is still a sly animal that sneaks a certain truth. A pathetic gesture that has aggressors shaped like human and dog reveals a universality: we all long to feel wanted.

What did everybody else think?

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