Friday, 14 November 2008

DV8 ‘To Be Straight With You’ National Theatre

‘DV8 Physical Theatre's work is about taking risks, aesthetically and physically, about breaking down the barriers between dance, theatre and personal politics and, above all, communicating ideas and feelings clearly and unpretentiously. It is determined to be radical yet accessible, and to take its work to as wide an audience as possible.’
(, artistic policy)
To Be Straight With You is a piece of verboden theatre which challenges the audience to think about homophobia and what happens in every corner of the world in religion, governments and stereotypes. Because all the words were from songs, newspapers and interviews with people who have experienced the darker side of homophobia it makes the performance moving. In putting these words into physical form and performing on stage it brings to light just how sheltered we are living in the UK. It takes DV8 to produce a piece of theatre for us as an audience to sit up and take notice of what is happening in the world.
Although these words are just a catalyst, it is an astonishing piece of dance theatre. The movement created by these performers’ bodies is astounding. With their understanding of their bodies they push themselves to create movement so natural to them they can say a whole monologue while skipping with a rope. To be able to even speak let alone project your voice after 5 minutes of skipping amazes me. It is this dedication of DV8 and their performers to the movement that has always drawn me to their work.
Props are used throughout the performance to juxtapose the choreography. To go back to the monologue and the skipping rope. The monologue talks about how he was gay and because of his religion he could not tell his family. When his family finally found out the dad stabbed his own son down a back alley. Still alive he was left to die. While all this is being described he skips around the stage performing aesthetically pleasing moves in a child-like way. This playfulness of the skipping rope contrasted with the harsh reality of the monologue makes a stirring solo.
The use of technology was superb. From the simple use of chalk to high quality projection of the world that shows different countries which has homophobia in their government. Some even carry the death penalty if you are found to be gay. It is this kind of shock information that is carried through the performance and how naive people can be towards how people treat homosexuals even though we are all made from the same substance.
This complemented by the sharp choreography and understanding between performers produces one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

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