SystemsLAB Presents MIXED BILL, an Evening of Performance Art
SystemsLAB:Mixed Bill presents an evening of thought-provoking, exciting performance art with four powerful short pieces of dance/theatre originally curated by Freddie Opoku-Addaie for Dance Umbrella 2019. Featuring a cast of compelling creators/performers, each piece presents a view of society through the lens of personal experience and assured stagecraft.
MIXED BILL made its critically acclaimed debut in 2019 at Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London and brings to the Gulbenkian/March 6th and Trinity Laban/March 12th and 13th an intelligent range of new physical language, a daring soundscape, experimental text and music and performances that delve to the core. This is essential viewing for a wide audience who love to look outside the norm.
Creators & performers:
TH?'O INART - 'FRAGILITY IN MAN PART 1'. Theo has worked with, among others, Hofesh Shechter and Akram Khan; his piece is set in what might be a waiting room, or possibly a cell of some sort. He sits waiting patiently, he uses gestures and unexpected movement to tell us what he's thinking. He's spooked by the sudden sound of a dog barking. We are too. We wait with him. We wonder if he'll be safe, we wonder if anyone cares, we wonder if he can leave when he wants to. "Theo has a compelling presence onstage in his solo," says Nicholas Minns of Writing About Dance. "He shines a light on the audience but sees only his own reflection...he cannot hide his vulnerability because he is turned inside out...when he exits, he leaves behind him the fragile landscape of his own being..."
Namgauds - 'EXHIBIT F'. is a choreographer and dance artist who creates intense, female-driven work inspired by personal and political issues. In the astonishing 'Exhibit F' Becky literally and figuratively bares herself in a volcanic work that confronts the notion of control and submission of the female body. Becky's only 'prop' is her phenomenal waist-length hair which shape-shifts from gorgeous adornment to cruel restraint. There is a haunting, alien aspect to the piece. "At points, she reminded me of the ghostly apparition in the (celebrated Japanese) 'Ringu' movies," said Mike Scott-Harding of Afridiziak. "It's both a riveting and uncomfortable expression of female body anxiety...the partial nudity is, by no means, gratuitous. In fact, her fluid, articulate movements almost demand it."
Ffion Campbell-Davies/ tyroneisaacstuart - 'BEYOND WORDS'. The statuesque double presence of Ffion and Tyrone immediately command the audience's attention as they stalk onto the stage, he playing the saxophone, she atop his shoulders vocalising. In an exploration of how humans converse, the duo use costume and characterisation, alternating control and expression to remind us that it's not just a question of he said she said. "There is a pleasing awkwardness about the way they continue to sit, stand and balance on various parts of each other's bodies," said Lisa Marie Bowler of Theatre Times. "Communication between them is never seamless; it requires courage and careful negotiation. The overall impression of the piece is one of playfulness, originality and honesty."
D - 'AEROPLANE MAN'. D is the classic polymath: MC, dancer, spoken word artist, director, producer, teacher. Since founding his annual hip hop festival, Breakin' Convention in 2004, his formidable lead on developing British hip hop as an art form has led to worldwide recognition, the mentoring of thousands of young creatives and the provision of national and international platforms for British hip hop and street dance. One of Jonzi D's critically acclaimed works is 'Aeroplane Man' in which this son of east London travels to the 'lands' of his ancestors in a bid to find his real home. It turns out that not one of them fits the bill because wherever he goes, he's a visitor, a tourist, an interloper...
The revival of this seminal work shows it has as much eerie resonance as it had when it was first performed in 1999. "He wakes up to find that being born in Bow in the East End and wearing Union Jack underpants is no guarantee of a sense of who you are," said Ismene Brown in the Daily Telegraph in 1999. "He tells us about it in chanted verses with funny, energetic wordplays, calling up "Mr Aeroplane Man" to fly him around the world to look for a place to call home and, along the way, gives us London music-hall, Grenadan calypso, the Jamaican club scene, hip-hop breakdancing from New York and the South African gumboot dance..."
Curated by Freddie Opoku-Addaie
Dance Artist/Former Guest Programmer at Dance Umbrella International Festival 2016-19