‘Murmur’ is a double bill of live dance, music and film which aims to challenge preconceptions of a night of contemporary dance. Our biggest aim is to encourage new audiences to watch contemporary dance and to appeal to younger audiences who may not normally go to the theatre. The work is particularly aimed at ages 14 to 35 years who have been identified by many Welsh venues as being a difficult target audience for contemporary dance. However the work is also accessible and engaging to older audience members. This has led to a really diverse range of audiences coming to watch the production.
Our first piece ‘Momenta, is performed on the proscenium arch stage, and is inspired by a television interview on the 1973 Dick Cavett show with actor Marlon Brando, in which he describes how “We act to save our lives actually-everyday”. The piece explores the theme of authenticity and the notion of acting as a survival mechanism. We explore the roles we play in life, the things we think but don’t say, the things we say but don’t think, and the fragile moments of beauty in relationships where we share more of our authentic self.
It’s important to me as a Director that there is a relaxed relationship set up between the performers and the audience and that the audience see the dancers as ‘people’…As an audience member the first thing you will experience is having a chat to one of the dancers from the company as you wait in the foyer or bar area about the themes of ‘Momenta’. During this conversation the dancers ask audience members to write down some lines for them to read in the performance based on something they wish they had told someone in their life but hadn’t because of one reason or another. We’ve had some great audience input from this, from things that have made us giggle; ‘I just wanted to tell you that your baby actually isn’t that cute!’ and ‘I just wanted to tell you it was me in the lift!’ to some quite profound and humbling (and sometimes brutal!) honest quotes such as ‘I just wanted to tell you I love you and I’m scared of you leaving me” to ‘I just wanted to tell you that the real reason I broke up with you is a slept with someone else’. We hope that by bringing our audience’s personal stories and memories into the work, they feel a stronger connection to the theme and the performers. Imagery in the work is also very important. Film imagery explores natural elements. The dancers move under falling feathers, fly through murmurations of starlings and crash through flowing waterfalls in their search for authenticity.
Our second piece ‘Broken Arrows’ suddenly changes the feeling in the theatre and brings the audience into a music gig. On stage there is a live band; our supporting band ‘Best Supporting Actors,’ and the audience now stand in the auditorium to watch them play. The piece is then performed in an immersive style in the audience. Broken Arrows has a very different feel to Momenta, and is much more image based and theatrical. In a dream like state the audience are taken through a series of scenarios by the performers who dance at music gigs, fight their way through storms and swim through search party torch lights in a quest to find the calmness of love amidst the chaos of life. Our professional performers are also joined by a community cast at each venue within one of the scenes-bringing the whole theatre to life! The piece essentially tells a love story which has a few dark twists and turns. We hope the imagery makes the audience start to see relationships and narratives and to question what happened to the protagonist character; ‘The Girl in Red’.
Following the dance performance ‘Best Supporting Actors’ play a free live music gig for the audience, so that they can stay and join the Ransackers in our after-show party! We hope this also encourages more of a ‘night out’ feel to the night and aiming to encourage audience members to think about going to watch contemporary dance in general as a fun ‘night out’ experience. The cast also attend the gig, encouraging the audience to come and talk to them and ask questions about the work in a really relaxed friendly atmosphere.
We’ve had some great audience responses to the work and have enjoyed meeting and talking to lots of different audience members on our tour so far, which has taken us to The Hafren, Newtown and Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Remaining Tour Dates:
Maesteg Town Hall, Friday 11thOctober, 7.30pm
Theatr Brycheiniog, Friday 18thOctober, 7.30pm
Production Trailer and Box Office Links: ransackdance.co.uk