“The stage during a rehearsal is like an anthill,” says Jakob Stage, one of the dancers and choreographers from Mute Comp, a dance company which is preparing for their latest performance piece with glee in their eyes, not giving much away about BLACKOUT! until the opening night. “The audience will be in for a couple of surprises,” he promises.
It’s always a fantastic experience to see people completely involved with what they do: it adds a deeper layer to the performance and rings true with the audience. BLACKOUT!, the latest creation of the renowned Mute Comp, is the third and final part of the trilogy on the three biggest illegal economies: sex/trafficking, weapons and drugs. This instalment focuses on drugs and escapism. It explores the darker sides of human nature, our urges, repressed desires and their consequences. It doesn’t presume to judge or condemn anyone; it aims to present impressions and the experience in a brilliant, entertaining and dynamic show full of music, lights and smoke.
All three parts of the trilogy are an “artistic interpretation of all the research that we’ve done”, says Stage – i.e. meetings with organisations (including NGOs) and individuals. In BLACKOUT! they focus on people who treat drug addiction, as well as people who use drugs, to form a complete picture and look at it from all possible perspectives. The creators draw on hands-on experience, including a trip to places like Goa in India, where the ever-present gurus offer Westerners an escape from reality and a better, ‘spiritual’ life to those who want to find themselves. For the members of Mute Comp, it was an eye-opening experience. It sits in the back of their heads constantly – it may or may not be incorporated into the show, but it will definitely influence the dancers and musicians and enrich the show.
Even though it is a part of a bigger whole and a finalisation of three years of work, research and staging performances, BLACKOUT! is primarily an independent piece. It can be seen and enjoyed without any knowledge of the previous parts. However, there are subtle connections between the three. Anyone who saw Knock on Unpainted Wood (2010, sex/trafficking) and F.U.B.A.R. (2011, weapons) will perhaps recognise a movement in the dance, a colour or a certain attitude. Since they deal with similar topics they also share similar energy and atmosphere. It’s not necessary to know them, though, and furthermore the non-Danish speaking audience will not have any problems understanding. Mute Comp focuses on the performance, movement and music, universal elements and topics that are common to all people, and therefore cross national barriers.
The performance itself is not a linear narrative, it’s an interaction between choreography, music, lights and smoke. They have done some “research into the light and how it can trick and influence our vision”, so perhaps it will make it into the final cut and the audience will get a chance to experience some otherworldly visions. However surreal it may be, though, Stage underlines that BLACKOUT! “does bear a resemblance to the reality, and echoes what is truthful, so that the audience can connect and relate to it”. The artists hope that it will help to form opinions about those topics, spark some curiosity. Nevertheless, their main goal is to provide a good performance.
BLACKOUT! is performed by Mute Comp’s dancers Kasper Ravnhøj, Stage, along with guests Louise Hyun Dahl and Thomas Bentin (nominated for the Danish Theatre Award in 2011). Responsible for the music are Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg, MC Jabber and Dodebum, and they will also be performing it live on stage. They were hand-picked because their urban electronica reflects modern city-living and fits the idea behind BLACKOUT!.
“The light, ethereal vocals and spherical soundscapes of Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg; the dark, urging and chanting flow of MC Jabber’s words and the both gloomy and playful electronic compositions of Dodebum will unite in a melting pot of noise, pop, sound art, indie and slam poetry” states Mute Comp’s website, and judging purely by whom they chose for the two previous productions, and how quickly the chemistry between the dancers and the musicians clicked, this will promises to be another resounding success.
Dansehallerne, Pasteursvej 20, Cph V;
Starts Sat, ends 28 April, performances Mon-Sat at 19:30, also Wed 12:00;