SETTING: AN INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF A TERRORIST CELL IN A RAILWAY ARCH IN BETHNAL GREEN
I received this in the post this morning. It’s not real. But it still makes me feel vulnerable.
The target is on the platform. In 20 minutes she will be travelling overhead.
Thank you all for being here.
Thank you Kazakhstan for the gunpowder.
Thank you Cuba for the amusing additions to page 5.
We will reconvene in Norfolk.
In DANCE BEAR DANCE, the audience were welcomed into the arch by 3 dog-masked figures in suits. They took money, served beer, and then locked the door. In the centre of the room was one piece of furniture - a table set for an international conference, with bottled water and ashtrays, at which all performers and audience sat, each wearing a badge to represent their country. The masks came off, and the conference began. The plot was to blow up the train travelling overhead in 20 minutes.
In 20 minutes, the world will be a better place.
But at the point of explosion, something failed. Plan B was implemented - escaping through the large industrial side door to the street. But when this opened, you were instead faced with a mirror audience, in an identical space with 3 more performers. This sparked panic and shut down of the space. All remnant of the conference needed to be hidden. The tables were winched to the ceiling, revealing, in one arch, a casino, and in the other, a church. The audience was complicit in the disguise and the picture was convincing.
But the phone kept ringing and we didn’t want to answer it.
After evacuating the casino into the church and stumbling through a make-shift pretend service, and a brief interlude of desperate cabaret, the plotters abandoned their ‘friends’ - the audience - on the pews and ran. The audience were left alone in silence. The red phone rang. Eventually someone answered it and followed instructions to lead everyone through to the final reveal: the original conference space gutted by an explosion.
The curtain call (pictured top) took 30 minutes, as each plotter was executed, in turn, by a bear, while the audience drank in the remnants of the destruction .
The most astonishing and disorienting coup de theatre I've ever seen. It really felt, watching Dance Bear Dance, like something new was happening. It was in the best way totally mind-blowing. I've never seen anything like it. It was strange, wild, beautiful and funny and it conjured astonishing things out of the darkness.
To say that it was exciting just wouldn't do justice to the experience. Your preconceptions were forcibly rearranged.
The whole thing felt like being inside the head of a drunken genius.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Original conception and development: Shunt collective
Original cast (and co-devisers):
Serena Bobowski | Gemma Brockis | Callum P Crouch | Simon Kane | Hannah Ringham | Layla Rosa | Amber Rose Sealey
In remount joined by:
Show direction: David Rosenberg
Dramaturg: Louise Mari
Visual design: Lizzie Clachan
Sound design and composition: Ben and Max Ringham | Andrew Rutland
Lighting design: Mischa Twitchin
Video design: Susanne Dietz
Build: David Farley