by Eleanor Sikorski and Hollie Miller
Review of Black, Dance Umbrella, Platform Theatre, 06 October 2012, London
Edvardsen walks out with an expression on her face. It is striking but it is nothing in particular (she could be worried, terrified, cross). Whatever it is, it is a presence. She focuses us, we focus on her and she begins.
Black (2011) is dry and concise. Edvardsen keeps us captive in her telling of a story and a space, teasing us with our own imagination and then reeling us back into her lonely world. She is dead serious.
I flicker between an awareness of her as a choreographer and of her as a character. As she paints the space around her in our imaginations, she also, almost without telling us, paints herself. The sequence of her words describes activity in space, but it also describes her thoughts, and memories and eventually dreams - sometimes as they happen to her and sometimes in almost poetic reflection.
Thinking back to the piece now, I realise that Edvardsen's words did not change much, her vocabulary in this piece is limited. Yet my memory is of an ever-changing persona. Her imagined table transforms from an object, into an obstacle, a memory, something forgotten, a scene for a disaster# but it is always a table. Only Edvardsen's announced relationship to it changes.
This piece is a pleasure to write about, maybe more so than to watch. Its complexity is certainly received on watching but maybe not digested - the repetition, circularity and dryness overwhelmed my more immediate impression.
Comfortingly, it seems, Edvardsen is aware her piece's potential for delayed appreciation, offering to us a gift on leaving the auditorium. As the piece quickly ebbs from our minds and overheard words and sentences replace our memory of it, a table of these imagined objects is presented to us. They are obliterated by blackness but still shocking in their solidness to our well exercised imaginations.
A cold and clean solo.
Her face, stern, is sharply lit, and her precise robotic movements cut through the space.
She makes something out of nothing. But there always is something.
Her repetitive way of speaking, makes her seem part- child, part- machine and I warm to her. The works mathematical structure allows me to follow and engage with her as I watch her add and subtract a multitude of components that create this something.
Simple and precise there is a satisfying clarity to her work that is charmingly softened with occasional slip ups and slurs. Interesting but at moments a little irritating, the piece, short, is a good length and cleverly summed up with a series of objects.
Article published in bellyflop blog, 06 October 2012: http://www.bellyflopmag.com/reviews/mette-edvardsen-black