Homo-Irrationalis, Karol Cysewksi Dance

November 13, 2015 by

I was reminded of a conversation on TV when Richard Dawkins’ evolution argument, as demonstrated by the development of the eye, was rejected by a creationist on the basis that someone would have trouble going to the toilet if their penis was yet to develop. Dawkins looked baffled by the strange logic.

It is apt then that the jolliest line in Karol Cysewski’s three-man work is about an amoeba having grown bored of absorbing and excreting the “soup” that surrounds through its single cell wall and longs for a sandwich. In its lonely existence this very early life form also longs for company which quickly “happens” and the rest, as they say, is history – unless you are a creationist.

The show takes on the rather vast subject of the development of life, consciousness, intellectual debate, the start of art, the ridiculousness of much of the contemporary human condition and then an imagining of what the further development of the species may bring. And while it takes the form of a talk between two sort of philosophers and a demonstration in a laboratory where these issues are considered, the whole idea of the work is humour.

So we have as much of the work exploring the possibilities of physical humour all within this context and the added element of performance. The physical humour includes much use of the performer’s facial gestures, interaction between their distinctive bodies and personalities, (Karol is joined by Hugh Stanier and Christopher Owen at the Riverfront performance) and they make as much moaning and groaning, animal sounds, eating and other bodily function noises as spoken words.

The men dress in uncoordinated outfits that bring to mind not of this world academics, too absorbed in their intellectual world to worry about what they wear of look like, and they do don white lab coats for their investigations and analysis.

There is a lot of clever of video such as one performer’s bearded chin and mouth, when viewed upside down, becomes a strange talking head, parts of the body and squeezed and misshapen to form mouths for other discussions. Yet the most effective section is the beginning and end when two of the performers backs are turned into faces with the simple addition of circles for eyes. I am sure intentionally some of the use of the body reminded me of children’s finger puppets, drawing faces on fingers or hands to make pretend talking faces. But having developed as a species from this there is a lot more curly hair than we saw as children!

As they investigate the recently discovered new branch of the Homo Sapiens species the performers show that this new man has lost his sense and, rather, is occupied with the irrational – or rather just busy being silly.

There are lots of smiles and humour based on absurdity, those facial movements and nervous interaction with the audience and one another,  plus the silliness that the performance both adopts and also points out in our own world. Yes, there are laughs although I would not say I was as moved to laughter as some other audience members at the Riverfront, Newport but then maybe I need to lighten up and let my sense of humour evolve.

Now what would that creationist have made of it all? I think Richard Dawkins would have rather liked it.


Read Karol on the creation of the show:



Choreography: Karol Cysewski

Producer: Laura H Drane Associates

Photography: John Collingswood

Design: Marc Heatley 

Producer: Laura H Drane Associates

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