Before going to see 10,000 Gestures, a couple of colleagues went to see Boris Charmatz and cast's open rehearsal. I asked for no spoilers but it was clear from their faces that I was to expect something exciting and unique.
In the eery and bleak abandoned Mayfield Depot, the audience is met with an almost empty space other than a couple of bright white lights and silver floor panels.
After the audience had eventually filled almost every seat, a female dancer entered. She dressed in a bright red, glittery, matador style outfit. She starts to dance her gestures while quoting "1084 just one more, 1085 just one more," hinting that she is addicted to doing her gestures.
Eventually, the remaining dancers chaotically rush in to join her, all dressed randomly from outfits like ninjas to people in their underwear. Again, adding to this idea that these gestures are chaotic.
All the dancers start what seems like their own individual choreography of several different gestures varying from the comic to the absolutely absurd. It was hard to watch everything at points, but I felt this was Boris Charmatz' intention; only to catch certain glimpses of gestures.
The dancers would sometimes make noises with certain gestures such as singing the Dirty Dancing theme tune or screaming at the top of their lungs, shifting the audience perception to one dancer at a time. One of the most powerful scenes, in my eyes, was when all the cast were screaming as well as gesturing, varying from a war scene to giving birth.
The piece flowed beautifully; there were moments of what seemed like utter chaos to the next minute of calm. It was simple yet deeply complex. The way in which it seemed all the dancers were individual but in fact knew exactly what the others were doing. Created an interesting, unique and dynamic piece.
The use of space was widespread; nothing was off limits including the audience. The dancers, on numerous occasions, came into the audience. Firstly, just the one, who ended up kissing an audience member. To, eventually, building up to the whole cast joining and climbing over us, laying on us and even lifting an audience member up whilst chanting in French.
10,000 gestures was a triumph. A bizarre rollercoaster of emotions full of beautiful imagery. I could not speak more highly of Charmatz and cast; what an amazing and interesting show from MIF.
- Image, 10,000 Gestures directed by Boris Charmatz, courtesy of MIF.