Dance Theatre Journal

Article by Philippa Thomas reviewing Early works at 'Happenstance' at The Blue Coat, Liverpool, April 2008

The performance experiments of Augusto Corrieri have the magic quality of a mathematical formula that works transparently. This transparency creates a sense of complicity between Corrieri and his audience, who rather than seeming manipulated become willing partners in these performative games. His work is both theatrical and joyfully deconstructivist in approach. Like a technician slowly sweeping the stage in front of an audience and enjoying the drama of his own quiet functions, Corrieri waits until we get the joke then makes us work past it into something even more rewarding. During Happenstance he presented three short works as bookends to other performances. The first, Fall, plays wittily with the space between signification and interpretation. Falling takes places with increasing longevity and '10 seconds', '30 seconds' and finally 'Dylan' (Subterranean Homesick Blues) are all displayed on cue cards to indicate the duration of his fall. During the final 2 minutes and 21 seconds we watch his fingers stroking along the floor, small shifts in the distribution of his body weight becoming perceptible as we see a commonplace action as if for the first time.

Please forgive me demonstrated his knack of bringing an audience in with a totally un-flashy style of story telling, his calm manner of presentation juxtaposing neatly with the silly grins of the audience when they get to blindly mosh to Brian Adams' tear-jerker Please forgive me. The ingratiating sentimentality of the song's lyrics is transformed by the actions of the audience who dance according to the structure of the music rather than in response to the emotions expressed.

The construction of Solo duet solo is explicit in the title. After warming up the audience's hands (as if for later applause or a card trick en masse), Corrieri teaches them a delicate phrase to sing as accompaniment when he performs a short solo sequence of movements including some Bausch-like sleepwalking and a gun-shot death. An audience member is then selected and we watch as he/she learns the dance (Duet) and goes over any difficult parts. Corrieri then leaves the new soloist to perform it alone (Solo).

A surprise addition to the performance was the mountains of white feathers that were the remnants of the previous performance by Ivan Thorley. The dancers ended up covered in them, spectacularly and repeatedly deceasing in a snow of downy white.