Riffing on Hamlet at BAM
The Forsythe Company performed William Forsythe’s Sider at BAM last week. As he explained, much of the dancers’ movement is set to the speech patterns of actors reciting an “Elizabethan tragedy”, being fed to them in real time through earpieces. The audience does not hear the text. Those who attended a pre-performance talk will know that the tragedy was Hamlet. (Most people will not.) Here’s my review of the piece for DanceTabs.
And a short excerpt:
“Like those of a computer programmer, Forsythe’s systems are regulated by a constant stream of minute decisions. What will the dancers do next? How quickly? What will the lights do? What will the audience be allowed to see? What will they hear? Sometimes there is an underlying thematic thread – in Three Atmospheric Studies it was the Iraq war, in Decreation it was love. But in other works, like Sider (2011), which just completed its run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the ultimate goal is not, or does not seem to be, a coherent thematic arc. As Forsythe said at a talk before the Oct. 12 performance, “I lack the narrative gene.” This is clear to anyone in the audience. Structure, rather than content, is the point.”