Theo Clinkard on ‘The Days’

I consider the context of performance to be a space that holds potential for an alternative mode of being together; a focused space for empathic exchange that I think needs defending now more than ever before. 

In the process of crafting this duet, I’ve been thinking about how I can more deeply trust the audience’s attention. I sought to create a temporal experience that requires us, as observers, to bring a depth of presence and a lucidity of focus that is rarely needed when the sheer amount of content we receive in the world is rapidly edited or elicits engagement though jeopardy and expectation.

This duet continues my interest in our disposition to construct meaning when witnessing performance. How do the formal elements; our proximity to action, the sound, the design, the duration as well as the movement itself trigger the interpretation of our own ‘story’ as we watch. It’s a celebration of the poetic space that can be crafted from these raw materials; a non-determinist approach to the potential generation of feeling or, as I like to call it, ‘accidental narrative’. For me this unfolding narrative space remains firmly in the ‘eye of the beholder’ as an appreciation of subjectivity. 

‘The Days’ uses a single movement task that alternates between the two protagonists for the duration of the work. The ‘what’ of the dance is established and repeated throughout, in order to foreground the subtle shifts in ‘how’ its is being done. As the dancers embody textural, tonal and qualitative properties in their exchanges, a range of meanings emerges and the movement simply becomes a vehicle for a shifting landscape of interpreted feelings.

Elastic, resistant, fluid, careful, resilient, limp, stubborn, playful, brittle, pliable, brutal, supportive, nonchalant, sensual; the wide range of behaviour that can be explored with this simple task is as limitless as the body is dexterous.

These culmination of these intimate exchanges serves to illustrate a domestic space within the theatre and the duration of the dance a metaphor for a life shared.

As the performers negotiate degrees of permission and consent through the unfolding series of physical ‘situations’ they find themselves in, I attempt to capture the complexity of coexistence and prompt the audience to recognise in their dancing, the multiple, complex and layered states of being together.

This work is brought to life by the nuanced, sensitive maturity and sheer skill of the two exceptional dancers, Maria and Ville. I am deeply thankful to them for this commission and the wonderful journey this work has taken us on.