Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“The Chosen is about dying and so is also about living and time: how we choose to live in the face of dying and how we think about dying. Increasingly, as medicine advances, knowledge of imminent death has become a reality for everyone. From the shifting perspectives of both the Chosen and those close to them, this piece is a personal reflection on experiencing the time left to us.”
Six characters wearing every day clothes each stand on a silver box. One by one, to the sound of a heart beat a dancer folds into themselves – and the sound of waves envelopes the dancers. The waves become more vigorous as they move forward and back. The metaphor of life, ebbing away until death comes through in the first moments of this piece. A male dancer in black moves very slowly, set to an operatic aria, he is searching…
The pensive first section of this piece is provocative and we want to interpret the meaning however, the abstract nature blends together many ideas on the show’s theme, mortality, that with the modern medicine of today, it is possible to know when one may die and how people we know are affected.
The fifty minute production is choreographed by award-winning Kally Lloyd-Jones, artistic director, creator and director of Company Chordelia, with the cast: Katie Armstrong, Thomas Baylis, Amelia Cardwell, Giulia Montalbano, Lewis Normand, Jack Webb (Understudy Jack Anderson).
Programme notes state that Company Chordelia “creates moving and accessible multi-genre dance performances which explore narrative and character driven work centred around deeply human themes.”
Based on personal reflection on the part of Lloyd-Jones, the piece is meditative, poignant and meaningful, exploring life, death and the human condition. Set to a selection of classical music, much of it is beautiful and hopeful.
Lloyd-Jones’ contemporary choreography varies in dynamics incorporating solos, pairs and the ensemble, and is specific in every section with seamless transitions. Each character has their story, joined by others to create scenes expressed through movement that appear and melt away. Drama builds through relationships such as when a character is supported emotionally and physically or swept up and away from danger.
Inventive balances with a duet suggest a struggle, by moving on and over tilted boxes. The boxes are versatile when they are stacked to create shapes and forms as well as stairs, seats and more.
Choreographically the movement design in the space is complex and well thought out, sections do not repeat and the piece develops effectively.
Someone falls, some sit and others move together with sinewy muscularity and fluid movement with sudden changes in dynamics. Physical storytelling is rich, visceral and tender and always interesting. Fascinating choices provide surprises in the choreography such as a speeded up section and a very moving moment of invisibility.
One of the last motifs in the piece is movement of a silent scream by the ensemble, which seems rushed and not quite as believable as what came before.
The Chosen is superb heartfelt storytelling with excellent movement quality by all the dancers. It is a mesmerising piece that will stay with you.