Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Contemporary dance company h2dance invite audiences to come along and take part in this interactive and immersive new dance and music piece, Say Something. Looking at group identity, conformism and freedom of expression this is a unique hugely satisfying piece of work.
Summerhall (in its 2nd year as a Fringe venue) is a great addition to the Edinburgh Fringe scene. Utilising the wonderful spaces at its disposal it has created a venue filling a gap that has been sorely needed at the Fringe: a crucible for young artists starting out and a space for more experienced companies that don’t easily find a home at the more commercial larger venues.
It is the perfect home for this engaging, exhilarating, intimidating, satisfying and unique piece of work.
Starting slightly late due to technical issues the audience had been happily chatting away outside as as we are led into yet another glorious space at Summerhall. This one huge and empty save for an exhibition of pre-revolution Chinese dresses around the walls and a stage at one end of the L-shaped room.
One of the cast tells us that at any point we should feel free to join in the dance or say what we feel at any of the microphones scattered around the space and so the performance begins. Encouraged to move around the room and say hello to your fellow audience members who begin to move rather a little too professionally….wait you aren’t a member of the audience you are a performer.
And so begins one of the most satisfying and emotionally charged performances I have seen in a long time. I don’t know if you are an audience member who wanted to join in or one of the company and that is a wonderful feeling.
There are big themes in here: the need to conform; the role of the mob to block any freedom of expression; the methods used by modern media and society to keep us all in line and discourage dissent and dissenting thought and all are dealt with in clever innovative ways.
At one point you are encouraged to jump around and dance joyously to an upbeat piece of music as we all do from me jigging quietly in the corner to the little boy pretending to be on his decks to the lady who just goes for it in the centre of the room. Until I realise that one of the cast is performing slightly differently from the others, trying to speak but we with the cast are encouraged to shout her down – to make her join the group and be one of us again. I won’t give the show away but this is a theme that runs through the show and the denouement is both apt and shocking
During the 50 minutes of the show I felt anxious, joyous, intimidated, elated, angry, satisfied, sad and a host of other emotions. It is a unique and hugely enjoyable experience that I encourage you to grab with both hands and participate in.
To be honest I still don’t know who was in the company and an audience member and I don’t care