From Traverse, Edinburgh
Four Sterne Stars
For Antigone or artist Solène Weinachter, it looks and sounds like there is no escape because we, the audience, have circled the playing area and are within sight of the action. The riveting, emotional solo of Weinachter has a relatable shadow on this occasion: BSL interpreter Yvonne Strain is also in the circle, her gestures of sporadic spoken text visibly echoing the self-sacrificing determination of Antigone and the holistic immersion of Weinachter in the struggle between conscientious objector and despotic state.
The inspiration for the piece – Joan Clevillé’s first choreography as the new artistic director of the Scottish Dance Theatre – is a Greek tragedy. The story of Sophocles, however, is swirled with new texts linking the resistance of Antigone to a tyrant with those who support democracy in our own time. Weinachter plays complex and contradictory characters, inserting personal asides humorously, her French accent adding its own musicality to the soundscapes of Luke Sutherland, and she not only tells this story – she puts shattering flesh on her bones. The body of her dancer becomes a vibrant outlet for the inner chaos of young Antigone, whose limbs arch and write in sorrow and desperation before defying the dictates of her uncle, King Creon, by burying her dead brother and being buried alive, shoulders back, head high. The dance of Weinachter has a remarkable chameleon-like quality, an ability to express complex thoughts and emotions through movement nuances – in fact, she just won the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award in a Lost Dog production for Outstanding Female Performance (modern). Her previous collaborations with Cleville have built a genuine friendship between them, a shared confidence and respect that is willing to take chances in a tough job such as Antigone, Interrupted, to add depth and sense. This piece is a beautifully daring start to Cleville’s direction of the SDT, with atmospheric mood changes in the lighting (by Emma Jones) and an eerie, repetitive chorus by Sutherland.