“The boundaries of real life and art blurs, audience reactions and surprised people walking through the performance become a part of the action.”
Casually strolling through the bustling streets of Covent Garden on a barmy afternoon, and I happen to bump into five performers ready to distract me from my saunter elsewhere. Dancers from Protein Dance shift in and out of the Paperchase and Eaststorefronts performing Windows in Progress, as part of Deloitte Ignite, the annual contemporary arts festival at the Royal Opera House. This year the festival is focussing on Myths.
Allured by a cool Elisabetta d’Aloia baring wings of godly stature and enticed by Carl Harrison mocking Chris Knight’s masculinity, collectively engages me immediately in this piece of immersive theatre. Harrison and Knight bounce down the parade towards the Royal Opera House, hanging off of lamp posts and following orders from the bossy Fania Grigoriou. She directs some of their movement and intent – but like the playful, mythical creatures that they are – they rebel cheekily. Each of the five dancers commit to the storytelling with power, commanding attention efficiently, undeterred by the spontaneous reactions by those who drop in and out of watching this piece.
Stephanie Dufresne appears in a shop window, her entire body covered by a tight, white suit camouflaging with the two mannequins that she is sandwiched between. She comes alive and performs a bubbly solo, transforming into a woman, amazed by the mobility that she comes to find. Dufresne serenades us with her body with beauty that could be comparative to the Greek Goddess of Love, Aphrodite.
Harrison, Dufresne and Knight continue to tumble and balance in the small spaces of the shop windows. An advanced level of spatial awareness allows them to bravely move expansively, unafraid of their restrictive stage. Harrison emerges becoming chained to a pillar. He briefly tells us the story of the Greek God of Prometheus, begging us to save him from the eagle that pecks at his liver each day. Knight flies in as the eagle and humours us with a breakdancing feat.
Quickly moving us along the quintet are clad in Greek Mythology in the Royal Opera House shop window. Fighting for our attention quirky unison movement brings this exciting work to a close, a rare gem of interactive street performance that you can catch every weekend of this month, up until the 28th September.