Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Memory by the Living Dance Studio (Beijing) at Theatreworks this weekend.

Of course this must arrive suddenly in the peak period of arts/dance activity for the year. But for them, I have no hesitations catching my second show in a day (after Cake's Cuckoo Birds).

I have never forgotten their intense "Report on Giving Birth", staged here during the 2005 arts festival. The UCC theatre studio was emptied of seats and transformed into a cavernous chamber where the audience roamed between gritty performance installations of women backed up against a wall in rubber kitchen gloves, writhing on a table, whispering feverishly in a line of quilted sleeping bags as they recounted their lives in pregnancy, birth, family. So close, you could feel their breath, sweat, and pain. Haunted by magnified sections of themselves projected live from the roving camera of the company's videographer Wu Wenguang. Then the intimate studio workshop a few days later (just three of us dancers, I recall!), and choreographer Wen Hui presenting us with toilet roll improvisation and the conviction that all the creative material we would ever need was present in our own lives.