WRoNGHEADED

WRoNGHEADED is a collaborative dance, poetry and film piece produced by Liz Roche Company about the devastating effects of a repressive society in Ireland, particularly on women. Although this show was devised before the recent repeal of the 8th amendment to the constitution concerning abortion, many issues remain and WRoNGHEADED is still hugely relevant. However, this show is not a political rant but rather a moving and disturbing show.

This show is worth seeing for the poetry and film but for a more rounded and balanced collaboration, it needs a little less poetry and more expressive dance.

The poetry and voice over by Elaine Feeney creates a claustrophobic world expressed through dislocated images conjuring a woman's disintegrating sense of self, her bewilderment, fear, pain, and sense of entrapment:

“a room, a cell, a womb:

This room makes madness of us all.”

We gather that she is in a maternity hospital, possibly referencing the punitive Magdalene institutions where unmarried pregnant girls were locked up not so long ago in Ireland. Her guilt: 'I'm sorry, sorry, sorry' is touching and sad. The poetry sequences are repeated in a loop creating an even more claustrophobic feeling. Cries for air and the need to escape into the outside world become increasingly despairing and eventually suicidal.

The black and white film by Mary Wycherley melds beautifully with the poetry, evoking a similar sense of entrapment as unidentified bodies of women morph into others, merging with harsh landscapes of rock or water. Unfortunately the film is displayed on the floor at the very front of the stage, so only those in the first row could see it.

The point of the dancers is initially unclear since during the first half they just wander vaguely about, occasionally venturing over the film making ineffectual gestures. When the film, for some unaccountable reason just stopped – a pity as it was the best part of the show – the dancers came to the fore but this reviewer could not see any connection between the choreography and the poetry. A response to the rhythmic pattern of the spoken word was all they offered, the movements largely inexpressive and irrelevant.

This show is worth seeing for the poetry and film but for a more rounded and balanced collaboration, it needs a little less poetry and more expressive dance.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

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The Blurb

Liz Roche’s WRoNGHEADED merges film, voice and movement to confront stark realities for women in Ireland. Fierce words by poet Elaine Feeney drive the piece, with electrifying performances by Sarah Cerneaux and Justine Cooper interwoven with the exquisite work of filmmaker Mary Wycherley, composer Ray Harman and lighting designer Stephen Dodd. All elements are gathered together in intense emotional physicality but ultimately, WRoNGHEADED is a refuge from the debate; a space to consider these issues from a new perspective. 'There’s an urgency... and power to WRoNGHEADED that catches your breath... Not to be missed' **** (TheArtsReview.com).

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