Deconstructing the Surrogate

Two white-clad figures obsessively interact with each other on a triangular stage, obscured and exposed in equal measures by stunning abstracted projections. Throughout the 40-minute performance the couple sleepwalk, drape, cuddle or fight or simply shift slowly in a dazed fashion without vocalisation in response to a content-rich original soundtrack. Together, through movement, they create forms which become more interesting when seen as complex shadows against the projected backdrop - whether separated or united. Different narratives which hint at co-dependency are introduced as slow motion scenarios, and one can almost sense that their responses to each other are unconscious moves played out whilst asleep.

As an audience, we are put in an ambiguous position: Do we empathise or are expected to be uncomfortable voyeurs?

The projected film with its flashes of colour, dynamic shapes is so appealing that you often find yourself disengaging with the dancers movements as you sit back and enjoy the original soundtrack. As an audience, we are put in an ambiguous position: Do we empathise or are expected to be uncomfortable voyeurs? Do we try and interpret their intentions or do we primarily succumb to the audiovisual tableau unthinkingly and let it take us to a surreal place? It is a multilayered conceptual work and its emotional remoteness made it difficult to remain focussed on the a central theme, but perhaps that it is the intention. It is an immersive experience of the moment but one that does not remain with you once you step out of the theatre. 

Reviews by Diana Scarborough

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The Blurb

Centred around a duet, and inhabiting elements both narrative, and non-narrative, Deconstructing the Surrogate is the collaborative effort of husband and wife, Daniel James and Bryce Vinnicombe Winkler. Its genesis was the aftermath of a dialogue on the nature of codependency, and a meditation on the limits, definition, and malleability of the self. Accompanied by an original soundtrack comprised of over a thousand individual tracks, and a projected film based on the ocular phenomena of phosphenes, Deconstructing the Surrogate is designed to be an engaging, and fully immersive, multimedia experience.