Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel Catch 22 has influenced myriad visual material for many artists, creating a platform to explore images of trauma and pain within the body and mind. It takes a lot of passion and creativity to reflect the visual images that lie within the struggles of Heller’s uncomfortable and harrowing narrative.
The passage that inspires Entrails speaks of the physical and mental trauma that encapsulates Captain John Yossaian, the main protagonist of Catch 22. The choreography, by Roisin O’Brien, specifically centres around Heller’s images of war and the limits of human pain; eyes wide, cradled on the floor, rubbing faces into the ground, falling to catch themselves, a suggestion of pilot clothing – goggles, parachutes, coats scratching at them as if poisonous.
O’Brien’s choreography is at times brave and unforgiving, challenging the three performers to stretch to the limits of human interaction with each other and the space. With great energy as both a company and as individual dancers, the show has the energy of a young dance company with a lot of potential, a definite one to watch in the next few years. The trio show great promise for their debut show – oozing an energy that reflects the limits of the physical body.
Around two thirds in, the performers speak for the first time, and the show starts to lose the momentum it has been building in the first half hour. It feels forced and unnecessary to add dialogue at this point, but perhaps to some encourages a sense of realisation, and a connection to the passage that inspires the choreography. For me it could have lost any speech, as the movement speaks for itself. The repetition of phrases, “we are here” and “save her” undermine the cleverness of the choreography and added an extra element that doesn’t match the power of O’Brien’s choreography.
Up-and-coming choreographer O’Brien brings a fairly well-paced, carefully considered rhythm to the stage, performed well by dancers Kayla Tomé, Jenny Geertsen and Emily Neighbour. An inspiring piece from a debut show, a sign of promising things to come.
Entrails is playing theSpace @ Venue 45 until August 27.