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Edinburgh Fringe 2023


AWA (As We Are) Dance Company. Co-directed by: Baptiste Hilbert and Catarina Barbosa

Genre: Ballet, Dance, Devised, Experimental Art, Film, Immersive, Multimedia, Physical Theatre, Storytelling, Surrealism

Venue: Assembly Roxy Central


Low Down

SHOOT THE CAMERAMAN is a show that I simply couldn’t recommend more – When you walk into a theatre and have limited knowledge of the play, it’s the best feeling when you leave feeling you experienced something so poignant, completely mesmerising. Within the last few years we’ve really started to see the use of film evolving within live theatre on stage – Katie Mitchell being a key player in this amalgamated art form of different mediums. What plays out before you is the subtle construction of the mirrorless cameras, the dance of how ‘close’ they can invade ones privacy. Followed by the intricate details they begin to ‘capture’ from a relationship that is both turbulent and excruciatingly toxic beyond what words cannot express – the self-loathing, self-hatred, self-saboteur, rooted within a virulent marriage, all played out through a dance with death – literally. Catarina Barbosa and Georges Maikel are simple so psychologically hypnotic, every detail in their choreography shows you their connection and retraction; their work as separate entities and when in hold with one another is so enthralling you will not even have a moment to take pause. What makes this relationship even more intrusive, is the blocking of each piece of equipment, the lens into their relationship, their sweat, their veins and their raw exposed feelings for one-another.

The work has been co-created by Baptiste Hilbert and Catarina Barbosa, a dance/physical theatre company based in Luxembourg (entitled AWA). SHOOT THE CAMERAMAN explores a fantastic relationship between dance and film, to include the talented film director Pedro Barbosa who develops this visceral space through filming alongside Catherine Dauphin that is projected for all to see in this new digital society of immersive theatre.

This is a must see!


Remaining shows: 21st – 28th August (3pm)

Venue: Assembly Roxy


Walking into the theatre, there is calm, a sense of focus as dim lighting is placed on the separate pieces of the two cameras – two characters enter the stage, purposeful and completely serene as they begin to assemble the various parts of each camera. Six pieces of the puzzle, carefully forming this obtrusive camera that will not forget – exposing all emotions. This moment of silence on stage was profound, simple and a pulchritudinous representation of the process of filming and taking pictures; which is reinforced elegantly when Pedro Barbosa and Catherine Dauphin freeze for a brief moment when posing with their true love – their cared for – precious – camera. What proceeds is an initial experimentation of the bounds of where the lens may take the performers, carefully placed as if stalking the other through close-up visuals, neck, hands; the parts of the body that you wouldn’t necessarily see further away or perhaps focus on when watching life through a camera. But it’s not each other they want to capture on their screen, but a couple, two very distinct people, a love story from the 1930s. The unknown female performed by Catarina Barbosa, has a blindsided idolatry towards the unknown gentleman performed by Georges Maikel. Through significant changes of physical placement and intricate movement, Maikel seems to ‘tolerate’ the presence of the camera, in acceptance that this is part of his role in society. A powerful man yes – In what context it’s not explicitly expressed, but we know he is of importance, a kind of messier figure. What becomes clear is that the married couple are ‘inviting’ the cameras into their home; but keeping up appearances is no fleeting task and the cracks soon trickle through like broken sharp glass.

Looming in the background, but by no means unnoticed is this picturesque doll like character, so tiny and insignificant to ‘the messier’– the unknown man’s wife. Barbosa proceeds to ‘present’ a succession of rapidly complex choreography that doesn’t shy away from her ability to not be in the spotlight, rather expose her nervousness and self-deprecating nature as the focus must be on her lover, never on her. Each twitch, each jolt, each arm style is slightly conveyed with moments of ‘pretend’ mannerisms – married perfectly with falsities of a doll’s fixated face. Every placement of the unknown woman’s foot work, is never out of place, delicate in weighting – this not only indicates Barbosa’s skill as a dancer and artist but also her interpretation of this woman who simply cannot put a foot out of place in the eyes of her partner, especially as the camera sees everything.

Maikel plays the deterioration of his character with superb conviction and power as he addresses his imagined audience, mechanical and rigorous – the complete politician in front of followers – manipulating his audience in quick succession. At rare points his firm grip around his wives hips, communicates some form of possession, later to be retracted. How he shows his objectification of her body is truly remarkable choreography – how Hilbert, Barbosa and Pedro Barbosa have navigated these moments are truly unnerving! A marvel of work. You will also appreciate the moments of stillness, almost as if the camera needs to be ‘re-charged’ or photos need to be taken for publicity purposes, as Maikel ‘slings’ Barbosa around his body with great force, captured in several still images – photos. At no point, does the couple look happy, which plagues us even further reinforcing “How a person can become a monster in time.” Even when in ‘private’ the camera never shied away from their intimacy – focusing beautifully on the eyes, hands and details of skin and stature. This is an impressive collaboration that effectively showcases this evolving style of the digital age in performance art.

The audience persist to be engulfed by this relationship; the performers let us into how the story started – a ritualistic mating dance of passion and muscular force. One spotlight, centre stage followed by the power of No. 13 Dance of the Knights by Sergei Prokofiev, in creating the perfect underscore for this meeting. Both Maikel and Barbosa repeated a pulsating thumping motif in the air in complete synchronisation to every beat. This had so much power behind it, implying he admired her strength of character when they first met – perhaps she was the only woman to challenge him in the initial stages of their relationship. The couple then proceeded to use Peafowl motifs closely behind the curves in their back, not revealing their feelings too soon. The Peacock and the Peahen. Trapped in complete fixation with one-another. Some joy is seen here and we actually observe the unknown man glancing at his soon to be wife. What was remarkable about this section of the piece, was I almost didn’t recognise the Dance of Knights music, it was as if the audience were hearing this for the first time – beautiful choice and interpretation by Guillaume Jullien that supported the story-telling perfectly.

The price of technology and it’s role in the destruction of the couples relationship is for your own interpretation. What soon transpires is the cameras (and people behind them) may or may not have no regard for the unknown woman and the exploitation she received on a daily basis. What follows is her husbands murder, which truly grieves her. Even in her husbands passing, his presence is still felt by unnerving animalistic feral motifs lurking in the darkness, haunting her every step, captured beautifully by the angles and placement of the two cameras. The audience hear live sounds from Maikel, convulsions of breath work and distorted sounds as he tries to get back to her through the shadows – This moment of physical theatre/dance was awe inspiring. Whilst he seeks to return to his body, even in the wake of her husbands death, she can still no longer be free of her abuse, longing to reconnect with the devil inside her lover, dragging his body across the stage in sheer desperation. This was harrowing to watch.

Will the unknown woman continue to be exposed by the society that captured her torment and did nothing or will she enjoy her new attention in the ‘spotlight’ without her husband? You will be sure to explore this through the eyes of the impostures’ lens and draw your own conclusion.

There is not enough words to express the beauty within this work and it simply must be seen before the end of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!