Music and LED graphics for the choreography by Marco D’Agostin
“Dear N, You were too much. Too funny. Not just plain funny but, you know: silly funny, witty funny, biting funny, cutting funny, ferocious funny, despondent funny, frightening funny. And physical too. Yes too physical by half. Too body, body. Too bodily body to be theatre and too entertaining to be serious.”
With these words Wendy Houston would say goodbye to his friend and colleague Nigel Charnock, a few days after he died, in 2012. Nigel had been one of the co-founders of DV8 Physical Theater in the ‘80s; he had then left and followed his own research, creating and performing a formidable series of solos. For whom had met him, he was exactly as Wendy wrote, “too much”.
With his performances, hyperkinetic explosions in which singing, dancing, screaming, fiction and performance were intertwined on top of an abyssal emptiness, he broadened the borders of “contemporary dance” and seemed to perfectly embody the possibility of art that David Foster Wallace defined as “failed entertainement”. Everything in him was energy, desire, will. Yet, as he desperately repeats in his solo One Dixon Road, “there’s nothing else, it’s nothing, nothing”.
I met and worked with Nigel in 2010. This encounter marked a clear line in my way of thinking about performance. After him, the possibility of a dance is for me the horizon within which everything on stage can happen.
BEST REGARDS is the letter I am writing, 8 years late, to someone who can no longer reply. It’s a way of saying: Dear N, I wanted to be too much too. As Ottavio Fatica pointed out when translating the epistolary between Lowell and Bishop, “letters delivered too late impeach time for not being that assiduous duration you would assume it is, instead constellation, milky way of instants”. Each letter leaves from a present towards another one that might not be there to wait for it. From this present moment I make an invitation to the audience: let’s sing all together about a nostalgia that belongs to us all, we who did not arrive in time to say what we wanted. In the shadow of the expired time, and under the light that Nigel keeps projecting on the scene, let’s make this insistent refrain resonate, let’s unroll a blank sheet of paper in front of our eyes and ask ourselves: how do we want to start, this impossible letter?
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