Created by Daniele Constance in collaboration with Aha Ensemble and Phluxus2 Dance Collective, Explain Normal is a post-dramatic physical theatre work which explores the notion of what makes us normal and whether or not ‘normal’ truly exists. The piece draws on companies such as Frantic Assembly in crafting the world of the characters and establishing the rapport between the physical bodies on stage.
Constance skillfully crafted the opening scene of the piece, in which three performers are interacting with multi-coloured stencils, each with a unique pose displayed on the projector. The performers moulded into the stencils, the bright colours dancing on their t-shirts.
Allycia Staples’ Normal Ways To Die Monologue brought such warmth and a sigh of relief to what was a pretty dark and confronting work.
The work definitely has potential and some exquisite moments of specificity and detail, however, there was often a lack of focus on stage. There were moments when there was too much happening on stage at once and as an audience member, it was quite jarring. It seemed like the playwright had been too focused on cramming nine, unique stories into the span of sixty minutes that she’d forgotten why she was exploring them in the first place. This unfortunately resulted in the performance lacking depth and me leaving the theatre thinking that I’d just flipped through a scrapbook of experiences but I didn’t know why.
I adore the concept of this work and I applaud the creatives for trying to tackle such a multi-faceted topic, but for me, it just didn’t hit the mark.
Virag Dombay attended Explain Normal at Metro Arts on Friday 18 October 2019.
Image credits: Jorge Serra