A text translated from Jean Cocteau’s poem The Visit and spoken on stage by the performers provides the starting point for this new show from the Spanish company Mal Pelo, supplemented with an additional script by the group.
The emptiness of death becomes the subject matter - dreams and absence, observation and invisibility. To represent this in dance would be impossible, so instead we see a series of often disjointed actions, interrupted by spells of immobility and by occasional confrontations. Video projections play an intermittent part too - most notably while the audience is arriving, to be watched by a man standing immobile on stage with a motor road through countryside behind him. There is a bombing raid later, seen from above, and one woman’s solo has a horse moving on the floor under her feet.
Who are these people that we see? Themselves, maybe - anyone or nobody. A woman in jacket and short skirt, another in trousers, both of whom seem to change appearance and personality at times. Four men in suits, each very individual. Solos are often fidgety, even fierce. When two people dance together, the duet is as likely to be about dispute as showing closeness. Steve Noble’s music sometimes provides a commentary on the action and incorporates recorded hit songs with his own live composition. The outcome is unusual, puzzling, fascinating and yet never pretentious, unlike too many other mixed-media productions. A new creative participant, Andres Corchero, joined Pep Ramis and Maria Munoz in preparing the show. Munoz doesn’t perform this time and I do wish the cast list identified the other dancer-actors who deserve individual credit.