Luminous, Edinburgh Playhouse
A fluid wash-out of sprawling ambition
Thursday 15 August 2002
In a festival devoid of high-profile dance, Saburo Teshigawara's medium-scale, medium-famous Karas company has earned top billing. Luminous, a full evening piece premiered last year, certainly features luminosity – along with a great many shades of black.
Sudden beams dissect the inkyness, revealing an elaborate set of perspex screens of exposed figures. Dazzling white projections create corridors and squares on the floor or back wall. In the second half, it is the nine performers themselves who become suffused with light, appearing as fluorescent silhouettes which move in the dark like paper puppets. The sound switches as abruptly and frequently as the visual effects – cosmic chuggings, volcanic rumbles and galactic rattles, which yield towards the end to Mozart.
The problem is, you're never sure what it all adds up to. The opposition of light and dark embraces notions of being and non-being, the void and the material. Teshigawara seems to be also hinting at more complex thematic strands without satisfactorily communicating them. The dancers in their black or white costumes produce arresting group patterns that don't appear to function beyond decoration. A black English actor Evroy Deer attempts to supply moral significance with portentous allegorical soliloquies that flounder in seas of vapidity. Stuart Jackson, also English and, with Deer, the only non-Japanese performer, carries darkness within him because he has been blind from birth. He dances a long closing duet with Teshigawara, which is seemingly full of narrative resonances that remain frustratingly obscure.
No Teshigawara show would be complete without one of his mesmerising, extraordinary solos: boneless, wavering movement, which drifts as if floating through water then suddenly switches into sharp slicing curves and fast spilling turns. Luminous provides several long passages of this, but even they overstay their welcome, recycling the same procedures once too often.
Dancer, choreographer, designer and music compiler, Teshigawara is either a Renaissance man or a control freak. In his previous, imaginatively original work, he has tended to come across as the former, but not in Luminous. In taking too much solitary control for a project of sprawling ambition, he has allowed himself the total artistic freedom to lose focus and intellectual rigour.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
The Walking Dead, Remember, review: The discovery of a new community leads Rick to a dark decision
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'