Andrea Nann's Dual Light

Dual Light

Conception, Writing, Direction: Andrea Nann

Sound: Joshua Van Tassel

Lighting and Scenography: Simon Rossiter

Dramaturge: Sarah Chase

Dancers: Brendan Wyatt, Yuichiro Inoure, Kristy Kennedy Sahara Morimoto (replacing Andrea Nann)

Harbourfront Centre Theatre, Toronto, October 19-21 2017

Reviewed by Ted Fox

In Dual Light, Creator/Writer/Director Andrea Nann explores the movement of different cultures migrating from their homelands to other countries. Reflecting this are the four dancers-- two males, two females. One of each is Caucasian and the other Asian. Some go to live in a specific place. Others are travellers. They feel alone in an unfamiliar setting until they make connections and adapt.

Brendan Wyatt talks about leaving the small town in Saskatchewan where he was born, to study ballet.

Yuchiro Inoure, speaking Japanese translated by Andrea Nann, humorously describes leaving home to go to Germany.

In recordings of Nann in conversations with her 87-year-old father, she asks him about how in this moment he would define "plan" and the phrase "betwixt and between." His answers reflect both his living in many cultures but also his state of mind. Memory for him is a step-by-step process and the phrase reflects his current state of mind-- neither here nor there.

The choreography reflects this. Each dancer is separated from each of the others, like planets with vast spaces between them, all constantly moving. All are focused on contact with another. Attracted by their body heat and vibrations they give off, pulling one another, making contact and then dispersing. A sense of emptiness and longing. Moving in and around on different pathways. And in the end grouped in a circle as they were in the beginning.

Since each dancer's text is based on their own life narratives, deep emotions come through, both in their text and body language. Deep inner emotions surface and channel into the audience, suspending us too in time and space.

An example is a monologue by Kristy Kennedy. She gradually brings her arms up over her head, down the back and up again. All the while she describes the sensations she feels. The space between, The heat emanating from arms and hands. Her language flows, becoming more and more emotionally expressive. Her eyes and face are intensely focused both inward and outward at us. So emotional is this that I felt very moved. One audience member in the Q&A at the end said she was in tears and could not explain why.

A live electronic performance by musician Joshua Tassel combines modulating frequencies that create a sort of celestial suspension in time effect. This is punctuated by some cover songs recorded by the Skydiggers.

The lighting design by Simon Rossiter illuminates and highlights parts of their bodies witinin a landscape of darkness. Suspends them in a dreamlike mystical meditative space. A world betwixt and between. The life cycle.

The lighting is particularly effective at the beginning and at the end where the performers are grouped together, hands cupped and intertwined. Their fingers bathed in bright light undulate like the tentacles of underwater sea anenomes. The performers stare down in wonder at this.

The dancers are superb, creating much of it in the moment. The night I saw this show, Sahara Morimoto had to replace Nann at the last moment as Nann had an injury opening night. Morimoto fully incorporated her presence into this piece

Overall Dual Light is poignant, futuristic and very emotional. A dreamlike metaphor of personal journeys in the multicultural world we live in.