Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Liz Roche’s WRoNGHEADED merges film, voice and movement to confront stark realities for women in Ireland. Fierce words by poet Elaine Feeney drive the piece… All elements are gathered together in intense emotional physicality but ultimately, WRoNGHEADED is a refuge from the debate; a space to consider these issues from a new perspective.
The striking white floor in this space is intriguing when a film is projected onto it, first in black and white and then in natural colour with spoken word. When the two dancers enter slowly, the video, live dance and voiceover, become one.
“The women are here to count” and “Sorry” are phrases heard more than once in Elaine Feeney’s voice over of poetry, written by Sweeney herself. Her voice quality is melodic and rhythmic as she describes feelings and tough situations women experience.
Liz Roche choreographed WRoNGHEADED, which deals with sensitive and important issues about women and their bodies. A particular focus of this piece – since the start of its development 2 years ago – is on Ireland. Now, the recently repealed 8thamendment is certainly progress but there is still much to do. Roche’s Choreographer’s note affirms that both men and women are affected by emotional states of helplessness and repression, and the exploration of these themes is at the core of this contemporary dance work.
Dancers Justine Cooper and Sarah Cerneaux are exceptional in their movement quality and commitment to the complex choreography. The abstract physical expression of different emotional issues demands a lot from Cooper and Cerneaux, who deliver 100% in the thirty-minute performance.
The duo become energetic and muscular, then slow and sustained as they balance on then leap off each other, interact in dance phrases, in close contact and across the space. The movement is unpredictable, incorporating effective use of bursts of movement such as with outstretched arms then folded at the elbow. Sequences of pushing down and up sharply are dramatic. In one moving section they lie across each other’s bodies, while the voice over provides searing context.
Sections and transitions are clearly defined and effective. For example, the tone of the movement and sound changes to conflict, when MeToo and the effects are alluded to, bringing together the spoken word, video and choreography to create meaningful and poignant abstract visual storytelling.
Liz Roche has produced a show that deals with hard-hitting subject matter through the arts, which is an effective way to open up and continue the debate about these important issues. The visual and aural storytelling in this show is impactful and resonates with people in different ways, allowing each person to step back, reflect and consider what was the past, is the present and may be the future.
Lighting design by Stephen Dodd enhances the piece moving through dramatic, sombre, dark, natural, warm and cool moments. Also, the film by Mary Wycherley that accompanies this piece has recently won awards in its own right, at international dance festivals.
A very creative and moving show with excellent dance quality: Highly Recommended!