Stopgap Dance Company presents…
THE ENORMOUS ROOM
On the 6th March 2017 Stopgap Dance Company performed their work ‘The Enormous Room’. The piece opened with the imaginative and well-structured scenery in place, giving the audience a sense of both the performance to begin and the forming of characters portrayed. The performer’s movement was extraordinary, showing fluidity, control and a stunning use of dynamics. A variety of diverse positions were further performed on and around the structure/scenery. This allowed for a vast amount of character building thus allowing for the audience to really connect with the work. The scenery was complex and intriguing allowing for a symbolic touch, giving the dancers a strong connection with the loss of Jackie, their wife and mother. The loss and grief became apparent through different emotions, showing the daughter (Sam) and the father (Dave) to initially react differently to the death of Jackie. The young Sam is shown to become searching and playful with another character within the performance, an outside male named Tom. The duets performed are beautifully executed, allowing for a striking sense of balance and release. The father can be seen to grieve the loss more internally, allowing his head to rest in his hands, shutting away and closing doors to the outside world. An emotional and moving portrayal of the loss of a loved one.
The enormous room showed connection with theme, movement, vocals and evocative text. The superb movement took the audience beyond the point of reality and moved them between worlds. The uplifting and emotional positions created movement that empowered the audience, giving them a great sense of attachment to the piece. The performance incorporated a platform of pioneering movement styles that portrayed emotions and thoughtfulness. The performers moved seamlessly between each other, giving a gathering and cohesive performance. A beautifully natural work with honest intentions, the vocals were well rehearsed and perfectly spoken, giving the audience further connection towards the sentiments and passion behind the work created.
“The mirrors are to reflect us and the walls are to contain us” this being spoken by Dave, the father. This highlighting the father’s new perspective of the room and how the loss has changed him emotionally. The writing being displayed on the frame-less walls of the set, giving the bare walls a sense of purpose. The removal of all visible memories, the torment in which must have greatly impacted their lives. The mother’s soul still remains within the house, within their thoughts. This can be portrayed by two women, one being the mother, the other the wife. Their movement accurately parallel and in perfect unison. There was a sense of truthfulness and natural progression in their movement, it allowed for a narrative to be born. Moving in unison, however still remaining within their roles as a mother and a wife to their husband and daughter. The use of scenery as a prop to entwine and wrap around really created an original and innovative piece of work. The dancers incorporated a sense of embodiment and purpose. Further progression of the separate roles portrayed by the mothers became apparent when in contact with the daughter, showing a differing relationship, a stroke of the cheek, a brush of the hair. This movement was subtle but apparent and really helped to further their roles and gave stronger connections for the audience to relate and respond to.
The positioning within space gave a supreme parallel as the two portrayals of Jackie moved delicately and precisely through the space. This gave a moving approach to the performance, creating a sense of passing time. A simple but symbolic technique that accurately represented the devastation of their loss and Jackie’s ability to remain with them in their home. Time is a clear representation of happenings throughout this piece. It can be seen through a variety of techniques, one being the parents meeting for the first time. The place in which it all began, a change in music and therefore a change in atmosphere. In time, the light and happy scene soon begins to diminish as the dancers begin to fall and collapse in the space. A sense of the passing time and illness baring down on them. Father and wife connect in duet movement that moves across the floor, beautifully controlled and connected. A conversation begins with their bodies as they respond to each other, inviting the audience in.
A section within the performance shows Tom, his naked back facing the audience. The movement was contorted and jerky, giving a controlled and powering sense of movement and symbolism. The dancers move in and out of the cupboards, giving a sense of differing locations within the space.
As the scenery began to move and take a different form, although a little clumsy at times, the transformation was nicely developed. The movement that progressed throughout the performance from duet to group work portrayed perfect and original contact work that had the audience mesmerized. The weight distribution and balance moving around the enormous room was fabulously executed with ease and determination. The choreography was beautiful to watch and it really gave a sense of the company working together. Although the theme of the piece is sad and of a depressing nature some humour became apparent though the performance. A character, Chock, gave a lightened and lifted performance in times of need. I feel at times some movement became a little too intense and created a lack of connection to the theme. The Enormous Room was a fabulous performance, giving a beautiful and accurate response to loss. The piece had balance and a good level of a variety of techniques to create specific connections and emotions.
We thank Stopgap for their fantastic performance within the LEAP Dance Festival and look forward to new works created by the company. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to watch this performance, it showed an enormous amount of talent and connection as both individuals and as a company.