Double Vision 2009
Double Vision is the first live collaborative dance project between Liz Aggiss and Charlotte Vincent (Artistic Director Vincent Dance Theatre) and supported by the University of Brighton, The Basement Brighton, The Nightingale Theatre Brighton, Arnolfini Bristol and Arts Council England
This live art, dance discussion explores and exposes the relationship between director and performer. Between intellectual complexity and physical simplicity, seriousness and humour, Double Vision is like a female Morecambe and Wise doing a bit of Beckett, badly. Crawling in text and tics whilst scrabbling with sound and silence, two movement heads jostle to hold onto the performance frame. Double Vision acknowledges the desire by a couple of old dogs to share some new tricks in a modified performance kennel.
Aggiss and Vincent explored unknown strategies, worked on equal terms, and despite their widely differing aesthetic and physical practices, searched for a new language that exposed the relationship between director and performer, between conceptual and physical simplicity, and between seriousness and humour. The results of this research were a 35 minute live work called Double Vision, followed by a provocative scripted 20 minute performative conversation titled An Audience with Liz Aggiss and Charlotte Vincent a deconstruction and evaluation of process
I have something I’d like to show you……And I want you to know that I don’t like people telling me what to do” says Ms. A, as she gallops across the stage, clompety-clomp, banging her drum. “Could you do a bit less,” asks Ms. V “ How small can you make it?”
In its mathematically tight structure, use of rhythm and repetition, stark utilitarian staging (desk, chairs, blackboard) and foolish props (dagger, joke hats, toy drums), Double Vision shares territory with the work of Forced Entertainment. Immaculate timing and choreographic precision we expect (and get) from these two highly experienced dance artists (But are they acting their age? Aha! Interesting question. Next…..)
It is also, surprisingly, a clown show – the humour is knowing, at times side splittingly funny and the way the two women play off each other is a clear nod to the classic clowning traditions of diametrically opposed pairings (from Laurel and Hardy to Eric and Ernie). Enterprising entertainment. Brave ladies! Take a bow, do!
(Dorothy Max Prior Total Theatre Vol 21, Issue 02, Summer 2009)
The chaotic yet natural relationship between performers and choreographers Liz Aggiss and Charlotte Vincent creates an atmosphere which mixes profound insight and ripping humour in their fantastically tongue-in-cheek Danceworks show, ‘Double Vision’.
The show mixes abstract thought with shameless parody, as Aggiss and Vincent consider subjects such as seriousness, beauty and age, and then proceed to lampoon each concept with a wonderfully childish routine from Aggiss, coupled with Vincent’s hilariously understated observations.
The show plays on ego; the audience is induced to applaud before the show begins, and the dialogue throughout mimics that of a high-brow artistic piece, and its self-consciousness, repeated lines and exaggerated delivery imitate and mock the pretentious artificiality of abstract performance with an infectious glee. The show is laced with parody, and the juxtaposition of the restrained build up with its controlled mockery and the sudden explosion of silliness at the climax of each short scene turns quirky humour into side-splitting hilarity, seamlessly melding spoof self-criticism into outright ridiculousness. Aggiss’s and Vincent’s personalities work perfectly together, as Vincent’s carefully constructed straight-woman director controls each scene with an eerie artificiality, and Aggiss’s maverick performer springs out as a perfectly ridiculous comic fool, whilst still maintaining dignity through a well-observed show of egotism, and snapping between controlled stillness and manic energy with effortless smoothness.
The show was followed by An Audience with Liz Aggiss and Charlotte Vincent, which, while giving a lot of insight into the show and its creators, built on the humour of the show itself, particularly with the brilliantly funny parody story of their own first meeting. Aggiss and Vincent continued to present the caricatures they portray in the show as well as their own personalities, and the similarity between the two is fantastic to see.
The show subverts the artificiality of modern abstract performance, mocking modern and classical performance, performers, directors and themselves in a way that is both profound and extremely funny. In a time when it is still relatively rare to see women being truly deep or silly, it is wonderful to see two women who do both with such infectious joy.
May 17, 2009 By Emily Cresswell