Performing Nothing
— April 12, 2019

ICK dancers Edward Lloyd and Sophia Dinkel started rehearsing with Kris Verdonck for SOMETHING (out of nothing)Edward shares his experiences after a workshop to prepare them for this process.

Performing ‘nothing’ can be incredibly challenging, as we discovered during our first meeting with Belgian theatre maker and visual artist Kris Verdonck.

During our three day workshop we looked to Samuel Beckett, David Lynch and Japanese Noh Theatre for inspiration, while ideas of tragedy, comedy and absurdism began to materialize. Using Verdonck’s existing piece Untitled (2014) as a starting point, we found ourselves inside mascot-esque Mickey Mouse heads in which we had to perform through a new – and at first rather amusing – dehumanized identity.

In Untitled (2014) Verdonck presents us with a mascot who is thrown on to the stage with no real purpose, other than to entertain his audience. He must entertain, not through will, but through circumstance. It is simply what is expected of him. Described by one critic as “a play where hardly anything happens”, the piece is meticulously choreographed down to the second (literally), where even a shrug of the shoulder or an uncomfortably long -but not too uncomfortably long- silence bears great significance.

As we attempted to embody the sentiment of the aimless mascot, an instinctive sense of timing was at play. With our field of vision and perception of space distorted by the mouse head, we needed to have an elevated awareness of what we were creating from the perspective of the audience. A simultaneous visualization of the body (including its costume) both from inside and outside of the mouse head. As a dancer, lifting a finger may feel seemingly unsatisfying, but in this case, it could be all that is necessary to communicate with an audience. That is, if it is done within the correct context.

So, as it happens, performing ‘nothing’, is very much performing ‘something’. Developing this dual perception of the body, and differentiating between how a movement feels and how a movement is perceived, I imagine, will be one of the concepts to further explore during the creation of Verdonck’s latest piece Something (out of nothing).

In SOMETHING (out of nothing) the performers will share the space with robots, as the distinction between living and non-living bodies becomes increasingly obscure, and the idea of ‘the living object’ becomes a reality.

Verdonck continues to challenge his audience. An ever-expanding commentary on the vulnerability of the human, in an age where the commodification of everything and everyone saturates our society.

For more information about the performance and tour dates, click here

Photos © Kris Verdonck/ A Two Dogs Company

— Article written by Edward Lloyd


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