Edinburgh Fringe 2023
Mass Effect is high-intensity performance that demonstrates the power and strength of community and engagement through dance and physical theatre.
What is the shared dynamic on a cellular level that groups create together? How does that energy power the group and frame the relationships between the members? How do we influence each other’s behaviours? As exhaustion builds from exertion, how do we feed on each other to keep the energy going?
Mass Effect is high-intensity 45-minute performance with a cast of seven international performers and 20 community members. The seven core performers start on stage, clad in black and white work-out gear. They begin with a typical gym class warm up. The energy builds as they become more active, jogging, then running in specific patterns. They cover the perimeter of the square stage and add intricate configurations and interactions. They are perfectly in sync with their steps and together in their rhythms. After 10 minutes of high energy output, they break to catch their breath.
The action repeats, with more challenging routines and faster action. They must work as a team to sustain the levels of performance and to ensure safety for the dancers. They continue to take breaks as become sweatier and warmer from the exercise. After each break, they escalate the movement to the limits of their physical capabilities. Despite the exhaustion, they develop an athlete’s “second wind” to be able to continue to push their boundaries. Their zeal for this endeavour is intense.
Later in the program volunteer members join them, increasing the connections and dialing up the action. The local dancers pump up the energy, creating the “mass effect”. The drive is exhausting, not only for the dancers but for the audience. As the performers perspire more, some pieces of clothing come off. By the end, most dancers are dripping wet from the activity but clearly energized by it. The audience is left holding their breath, marveling at the physical prowess and coordination of the performers.
The interplay between artists and shared common goals demonstrate the power of a group. There are no words, simply actions, but those translate to a synergy between the artists that builds connection. And connections are what power communities.
The artists are from the Danish company Himherandit. The Artistic Director/Choreographer is Andreas Constantinou. Performers are Aris Papadopoulos, Aline Sanchez, Theo Marion, Paola Drera, Elise Ludinard, Heli Pippingskold, and William Cardoso.
This is a 16+ show.