By Carmel Shortall
Numbers, showing at the Etcetera Theatre until Thursday 19th August, uses a combination of physical theatre including dance and spoken word; both direct and recorded to get its message across. The performance is set against a background of flickering images projected onto a screen at the back of the stage.
The piece seeks to examine themes of sex and power through recounted stories of sexual experiences and symbolic representations of power in relationships. If this sounds ambitious – it is – and it makes for an intense and sometimes uncomfortable experience but it is worth it.
The four performers of the AMAE Theatre Company enter the stage one by one, reciting their “numbers”, some of which have been written on their bodies. At their most basic, these numbers are the numbers of sexual encounters or relationships which may be significant or casual but which increasingly define how we perceive ourselves in relation to others.
Questions are asked as the performers dance and interact with each other; one repeatedly grabs another from behind as she asks “Why are you always in control?” Different moods are explored as dance sections combine floor work with expansive, stage-filling steps as well as smaller movements where the dancers seem to shrink into themselves.
The piece is well-staged and ably supported by the company’s technicians while full use is made of the limited space.
Thoughtful and challenging, AMAE Theatre Company, seek to “devise contemporary pieces that have relevance to our society” by conducting their own extensive research and using dance and physical theatre to interpret this for their audience.
Numbers is at the Etcetera Theatre for only one more performance, this evening, Thu 19th August at 6pm.