Major Motion Picture | SCPA Review by Emily Losier
Major Motion Picture – a title that is both figurative and literal – treats us to a tangible discussion regarding territory, surveillance, and the distortion of universal truths that arises through the integration of technology. As the piece opens, we are introduced to a group of dancers, travelling in a vessel, who continuously depend on each other, and utilize weighted moments, momentum, and powerful extensions to draw us into their creation of time and space transcending shapes. Soon enough, more characters enter the piece, providing an ominous presence that overarches the entire piece and makes the original dancers cautious of every move they make, before creating a group that is fearless and unforgiving, revealing the truth through gruesome imagery that is uncomfortable; more so, perhaps, because it contains a grain of truth.
This piece immediately presents itself as a provocative political drama that demands the audience realize how large bodies of power can often control us and make us turn against those we are closest to. Dancers shift from being grounded and slow in their movements, from supporting one another to create beautiful shapes that represent trust and community, to producing snarling, animalistic and jagged movements that bound and flip to the accompaniment of heavy drums, ending with fingers being pointed in every direction, with a close eye kept on the person nearest you. We witness the power in surrendering, in changing and shifting ideas and perspectives as the dancers reach for and break apart from one another, struggling to understand their surroundings, their comrades – even themselves. When the two communities meld together, we sense the contrast between them. We witness moments where dancers attempt to run away, only to be pulled back; we witness amazing instances where dancers throw each other around in movements that elicit gasps from the amazed audience. We relish the power silhouette images, the power of a large body of dancers, and lines that can make any shape become real and mobile. Listening to the breath that arises from the bodies on stage, and the genuine interactions that read clear in the spotlight, we are reminded of the innate humanity that is ingrained in this piece, and it makes these ideas resonate to our cores.
As these three entities interact on stage, we are introduced to a greater message that revolves around politics, societal understandings, and what we understand about human nature. I begin to ask myself questions revolving around these ideas: what affects do fear and hysteria have on a person or a group of people? How can we accept ourselves? How do we deal with loss, even if it is for the greater good? Who can we really trust: them, or even ourselves? Are we allowed to enjoy having power? This political piece showcases the strength of fearless dancers who transcend space and time with awe-inspiring feats of athleticism, with moments of intense humanity, and with moments that provokes us to look inside ourselves, to consider our morals and how we distinguish between good and evil, how we come to terms with who we really are, and the importance of identifying ourselves; it’s either “us” or “them”, and often times we are unable to tell the difference.