There is nothing apologetic about the shockingly brutality in Liz Roche’s Wrongheaded which melds video, voice and movement to tackle the stark reality of women in the company’s home of Ireland.
The video on the floor of the theatre in Cardiff’s Chapter is the first exposition of the fierce and feisty spoken words of Galway poet Elaine Feeney; a fire-cracker delivery of vicious text that has emerged from the so many dark, heart breaking and sickening examples of women subjugated through their bodies commoditised, controlled and censored by the law and religious-dominated opinion.
“The women are here to count,
To sit together and carve out arms.
To bury their dead, to feed their living,
When they are done they can
Dance in the end clutches of their spat energy,
Bone of bone’s, sharp cuckoo barrage.
The dance work has two players, although they are each give a virtual as well as corporal life through the near trance-making film from Mary Wycherley, played out to Feeney’s poetry. That poetry delves into a myriad of imagery, natural, traditional and symbolic which are interpreted in the movement, feeling and atmosphere created by the live dancers with lighting designed by Sinead Wallace
and music from Ray Harman.
The experience is then repeated in real-time, real life, as Sarah Cerneaux and Justine Cooper lithely and powerfully evoke physical sickness and pain along with the inner trauma, despair and hopelessness wreaked by their gender, their fertility and their condition in Irish society. There are sections of great gentleness smashed against raw pain, desperation and minuscule drops of humour.
Of course it is not pleasant video, poetry and dance work to watch but the choreography is sharp and expressive, thrashing us with the narrative and revealing the savage beauty at its heart.
Okay, so I am a bloke – so I also accept I watch as an outsider.
Cardiff Dance Festival continues at Chapter, the Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre and also in Cardiff City Centre until November 19: