Merce Circus  (4/4)

Part 4/4 of project writeup, on short dance film “Suspect Number 4”

At Stratford Circus, ‘Merce Circus’ was a celebration of the work of Merce Cunningham and one of the final ever performances of his dance company. The place was buzzing and we were welcomed with a video of Merce’s dances which were projected onto a wall outside the venue, always a fan of open air cinema! The company performed one of their final shows to much acclaim described by The Daily Telegraph as “A colossus of 20th-century choreography”.

After the show, the audience were spilt into 4 groups where they had a chance to participate in several activities, in keeping with the spirit of saying yes to opportunities, “…diving in head first, full of excitement, abandon and love…” some had a chance to make their own Cunningham inspired dance routine, others a workshop, others a musical concert by Japanese musician Takehisa Kosugi who has been the Musical Director for the company since 1978. His experimental style uses everyday objects to create sounds, and his violin distorted, kind of creating an organic soundtrack. I drew links with this for our sound design for ‘Suspect Number 4’, which unexpectedly was in keeping with the Cunningham overall style!

I’m not snobby to where people watch films, I don’t care if people watch them on an iPod, computer or on a tiny fob watch attached to their waistcoat as long as they watch them; but nothing beats watching a film on a big screen with loooooouuuuuuddd sound! And happily, that’s what we got. Of the 5 films, ‘Suspect Number 4’ was first up and it looked h’amazing on a big screen, Ben’s sinister score with the impactful sound design was so loud it could be heard from the other rooms in the building whenever the door swung open, garnering amazing reactions and a few open mouths! The other films were great, more abstract then ours, all interpreting the brief in different ways.

We had started the process exactly 8 weeks ago to the day (1st October) when Annie and Adam pitched the idea to me, and now we had come full circle. A great project coupled with a fascinating way of working, chance procedures and a willingness to explore, which I can apply to other projects in the future. Props to Annie and Adam from C-12 and all the performers for making it happen.

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