11 February 2010

Les Sept planches de la ruse

Les Sept planches de la ruse (Seven Boards of Skill)

Compagnie 111 and Scènes de la Terre (France/China)

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Using the basis of the Chinese game Seven Boards of Skill, or Tangram, the performance intricately weaved 14 Chinese performers trained in acrobats and opera, with a large Tangram (made up of 5 triangles, 1 square and 1 parallelogram) that filled the stage. With grace, agility, and a lot of humour, these performers created landscapes, mountains, an ocean, a cityscape, all the while climbing, falling, conquering, and at times being squished (a particular Jury favourite).

The opera singers created sounds and melodies that the Jury had never heard, and perplexed (and at times bored) them, the result of their inability to understand the Chinese verse.

With these shapes, unlikely dancers, they created new positive and negative spaces, relationships, movements, and breath-taking moments of mathematical genius. Pythagorus would have knelt down in awe. The first half proved more adventurous and exciting than the more languid second half, according to the Jury, which made them feel like they were in math class. Zzzzz.