Theatre in Wales

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Summer Magic

The Best of Touring Theatre

Chloe Loftus Dance- The Day We Realised the World was an Oyster , Chapel Court Aberystwyth Arts Centre , August-10-13
The Best of Touring Theatre by Chloe Loftus Dance- The Day We Realised the World was an Oyster It is the nature of the age that works of art are rarely experienced without pre-mediation via promotion and public relations. On occasion, rare occasion, an audience comes to a piece where word of mouth or reputation of review have worked. Experiencing “the Day We Realised the World was an Oyster” is akin to encountering, without expectation, a luminescent Gwen John portrait on Tenby’s Castle Mound.

The timing for the performance at the tour’s second venue is a quarter to ten at night. At Aberystwyth in August that is the magic time, after the sun has set over Llyn but before full darkness has set in. The sky has a unique colouring, for around half an hour, that does not have a true counterpart at dawn. Chloe Loftus’ geodesic structure, constructed by the Welsh School of Architecture, is lit in blues and reds, and contrasts with the deep blue of the surrounding sky.

“The Day We Realised the World was an Oyster” is filled with suggestion; the surprised gaze of the newly hatched chick, the view from the top of a ship’s mast, innocence and exhilaration. The relationship between the female and male dancer is one of complete equality, in scale and strength, movement and litheness. The last image has the man asleep, deep within the structure, while his companion crouches high up in a position of outward watchfulness.

All aesthetic effect is achieved by the same means; rhythm and tension, complexity within simplicity. This unique production works from one essential counterpoint. The dancers are contained within their shell-cum-egg-cum-dome-home. But containment is not constraint. The freedom of physical movement is counter-balanced by the loose-tight elegance and beauty of the frame. After the performance the audience is to be seen touching the wood and the wire; there is a sculptural beauty to the mathematics of its making, the fact of its being simultaneously both open and closed.

The soundtrack includes the elements of rain and thunder. “The Day We Realised the World was an Oyster” is a work where a sense of time is lost, so complete is the absorption. It is a world that makes its own time. At the close, as the last lights dim on the structure, almost by cue a cluster of gulls passes by overhead.

”The Day We Realised the World was an Oyster” can be seen at the Stage Design Festival in Cardiff12-13 September and at Festival No. 6, Portmeirion 14-16 September. Other festivals in 2014 are already beckoning.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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