Created for ROTOZAZA FESTIVAL PARIS-LONDRES, Theatre de l'Echangeur, Paris, Nov 2001
[HARPOON] was created and presented as two "halves". The first half, a movement-based piece, was devised alone by Zhana Ivanova and Silvia Mercuriali in London with no outside directorial "eye". This work then travelled to Paris where, in the Echangeur, it was treated as raw material for a second half, directed by Ant Hampton and with the addition of Gaëlle Bona performing with them. Both halves were then presented in succession with no interval.
|For the first half, Silvia and Zhana created a private, disturbing and brutally physical world set in some twilight hour. An unwanted sleep threatens their vitality - panic sets in and after trying various methods it seems their only hope to stay "alive" is to exhaust themselves physically. They're like the two sides of a coin, tempting each other into a furious spin until there's nothing left and they're flat, vertical, spent.
The second half begins with Gaëlle Bona, as an audience member, demanding they come back on stage and take a bow. Satisfied, she then picks up a mic and gives a running commentary in the past tense about what she's just seen as her somewhat distorted version is simultaneously replayed. This continues until, for various reasons, she loses her temper.
From here on she takes control, goes back to the bit she liked the most and begins her own "fantasy" as to how it could have gone on from there instead. A quick-fire succession of commands ensues with a new and starkly contrasting choice of accompanying music.
This all goes according to plan, and Gaëlle is thrilled with the result. It is, after all, very exciting.
But now, having made "my perfect show", she wants to be in it herself, so she learns some steps from the two girls, and joins in. They dance vigourously together, without music.
But suddenly, as though it had been planned all along, the two girls knock her to the ground and drag her off-stage. The End.
[HARPOON] was a tragi-comic dance-theatre phenomenon about the difficulty of doing exactly what the piece itself set out to do. It was about viscious circles and the value of humour in such situations.