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Thursday 15th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Susan Darlington reviews Recreation by Yorkshire Dance, Leeds

THERE’S a growing interest in “slow television” which can be traced back to Andy Warhol’s 1963 conceptual film Sleep and, as an adjunct to this, Gillie Kleiman is seemingly exploring slow choreography with Recreation.

The one-hour show, an invitation to consider work and relaxation and to “blur the distinction between being active and being receptive,” sets out to achieve the latter by making the audience performers and vice versa by introducing two invited dancers onstage to join the core cast of three.

As a concept, it has tantalising potential but this experimental production fails to realise it on almost every level.

Opening with a meditation session, the audience is primed to be an active participant in the show and the idea of direct involvement is repeated throughout, with the performers either sitting back to gaze at the spectators or to watch one another as they variously loll around on gym mats and quietly sing Sonique’s It Feels So Good to themselves.

This hall of mirrors, whereby it’s unclear who’s the performer and who’s the audience, would pose some interesting philosophical points if it generated any emotion.

But there’s a lack of purpose to overlong scenes with minimal movement. Occasionally, they’re accompanied by voiceover, which at one point describes actions that aren’t taking place on stage.

The range of repetitive activities, including sleep and exercise, inhibits the development of the mindfulness qualities central to thematic slow television events and, by ditching this concept for a broad philosophical theme, Kleiman has sadly achieved little more than leisure boredom.

Performance at ARC, Stockton-on-Tees, on June 22, box office: