Pros: Cutting edge European dance theatre.
Cons: Bleak themes. Because the meaning is deliberately obscure, some audience members might feel alienated by the strong images.
On a dimly lit, smoky stage, a man stands before a microphone, eyes closed. As a low tremolo guitar plays underneath, he delivers a monologue about death and nothing, standing still and impassive, as if speaking from a dream. Suddenly another man enters, banging a drum and smashing a cymbal. The speaker slumps forward. A woman enters, locking and popping, fixing her joints in space, then swinging her limbs like a puppet. The drummer screams at her “say I die! In Chinese!”.
This is the work of Rootless Root, who are in Edinburgh as part of the Czech Showcase. The show’s programme asserts that there is no concept, nothing but flux, and calls the work “A look at features of political and social criticism and the obsession of satisfying our needs, whether it is love, sex or money.” These themes were abstracted and the results, although compelling, made for a bleak hour. The space felt too large, threatening at times to swallow the four excellent performers, although perhaps this fitted the existential angst of the work.
Episodic in structure, a movement passage for the quartet performed in unison to driving rock guitar and drums showcased their ferociously fearless physicality. The choreographers are influenced by athletics and martial arts, and the style was organic and urgent. Failing to communicate and the futility of attempting to do so was expressed through strong and unsettling images. The woman moved as if controlled, speaking with the voice of another, and the men stuffed wads of cotton under their upper and lower lips, creating grotesquely distorted monkey faces through which they tried to communicate with the audience.
The chilling final image was open to interpretation, but appeared deliberately gendered – the woman lay dead and the men stood spot-lit at a corner table tucking in to bread, cheese and fruit, and toasting with vodka shots. It was an enigmatic ending to a piece which seethed with quiet power, but was completely baffling at times.
Choreography: Rootless Root with DOT 504
Performers: Nathan Jardin, Hyaejin Lee, Pavel Masek, Knut Vikstrom Precht
Producer: Rootless Root
Booking Until: 19 August 2017
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/you-are-not-the-one-who-shall-live-long