Described as revolutionary dance theatre I was absolutely intrigued as to the experience which would unfold by taking in ‘Smash It Up’. I’m not great with dance, when I like it- I really like it- and can rarely articulate why, and when I don’t- well the same applies, I just don’t and I can’t really explain.
But sold on the idea that this performance would challenge, that it would focus on equality, justice and freedom I was intrigued to how this would unfold in a theatre space.
Instantly challenging perceptions, the seating areas is cordoned off, and so human behaviour becomes apparent. Observers and explorers. The introduction of Gareth Clark, with the stare, the enforcer, the conformist.
What was to unfold was the polar opposite, a personable and passionate voice as the motivation behind the piece- the destruction of the mural representing the Chartist Uprising of 1839- the response, and the challenge.The three performers just engaged, through so many different forms, the audience participant demonstrating the reality of the concept- that personal possessions do not prevent memories, that there can be freedom in destruction.
And whilst the piece challenged, demonstrating the breadth of destruction through history, there was enough breathing space, not to overwhelm but to digest, to consider self-motivation, consideration of what was being presented.
And what was being presented was carefully choreographed, defined, full of strength, of purpose.
Mr & Mrs Clark- the passion of the history of their hometown of Newport- the challenge of history, of culture- “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”- how much should you repel change, how much you defend what has always been? How much should what we hold close be other than the intangible? How much does consumerism determine our lifestyle?
I loved the movement of this piece, I loved the structure and the strength, and I appreciated the incorporation of different mediums to show how deeply entrenched the response was- not momentary, or glimpsing, but a heartfelt response- utilising different forms of protest. To be heard. To provoke reaction.I imagine this piece will provoke a different, personal, response in everyone who sees it.
To me, I was confronted with so much.
I have a vague recollection of meeting with housing developers in Newport some years ago.
I have always taken a pride in watching buildings being created.
But I have paid little attention to what went before.
What was destroyed.
I have taken pride in people realising their potential.
But at what cost?
How much should be destroyed?
And the subtlety of answer was there.
“This is public”
What is being created. Is not.
The voice of protest.
Of Mr & Mrs Clark
Disclosure: I received a complementary ticket for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views contained are my own.