Caro Meets Dance & Physical Interview

Frauke Requardt & David Rosenberg: Deadclub

By | Published on Thursday 7 September 2017

Frauke Requardt and David Rosenberg have won much acclaim in recent years for their rather experimental, outdoors, site specific collaborations, so you will have probably seen – or at the very least heard about – one of their inventive co-creations: the likes of ‘Electric Hotel’, ‘Motor Show’, and ‘The Roof’.
Their latest work, ‘DeadClub’, opens at The Place this month. To find out more about this, and their creative history together, I arranged a quick chat.

CM: Can you start by telling us what to expect from DeadClub? Does it have a narrative? What themes does the show explore?
R&R: It’s an up-close dance theatre experience for a limited audience all taking places around a specially built stage which the audience will stand around. There’s less of a narrative, more of a series of interlinked events. It’s an absurd arena in which we try and fail to remember something that is yet to happen. Our lives are strange and we are strange and it’s probably okay.

We’re working with five incredible and skilled dancers: Jordan Ajadi, Ruben Brown, Neil Callaghan, Owen Ridley-DeMonick and Valentina Formenti. We have worked with Valentina and Neil on a number of previous projects, and Owen, Jordan and Ruben are with us for the first time and it has been a pleasure to be in the studio with them. Our work is made in collaboration with the dancers and the creative contribution that the cast have generously and tirelessly offered in rehearsal has absolutely made the show.

CM: What inspired the show? What made you want to create a show with these themes?
R&R: We began working on this project about five years ago with an upbeat interest in our existential fears of death and meaninglessness. Our imagined audience were lying under a glass floor, buried alive as the world turned above them. Our research led us towards the work of Elizabeth Loftus and the malleability of memory. What if you were told that the red tricycle that you clearly remember peddling through the park on your sixth birthday never existed and that the park itself was only built when you were ten, when you should have already learned to cycle a real bike? This is a terrifying thought; in a world where it is increasingly difficult to sort out truth from the colossal excess of stuff, even our own memories contribute to all the unreliable noise.

CM: I find the idea of memory being unreliable and my brain playing tricks on me mildly terrifying. Do you think seeing this would help me, or make it worse?
R&R: The show is actually not as morbid or terrifying as it may sound, it’s more glitchy, bizarre and darkly humorous, it might leave you feeling slightly unsettled but also weirdly uplifted.

CM: Your previous collaborations have been staged outside, haven’t they? Why the move indoors for this one…?
R&R: When we opened Motor Show in Brighton festival (2012) it was 8 degrees (in May!); the wasteland we were performing in had flooded; and local kids jumped the fence to joyride our cars. We expect that these things won’t happen at The Place.

CM: How do you go about making a show together? How does your creative process work?
R&R: There is usually an idea of an environment, or a particular physical perspective that we want the audience to have on the work which is loosely coupled to a broad theme. Then there will be months of planning and when rehearsals begin we discard almost everything and start again.

As we progress we begin to see what the work appears to suggest and try to remain open enough to detach ourselves from our initial desires of how we had imagined the show when we knew nothing.

CM: When and how did your collaborations begin? What makes you want to keep working
R&R: We met through a conversation between Kate McGrath (Fuel) and Emma Gladstone (Dance Umbrella) when she was working at Sadler’s Wells. A kind of blind date in which the unexpected outcome was… a three storey Bauhaus hotel built from shipping containers that toured around the UK. At the heart of any productive collaboration is shared interest and intersecting tastes. We both enjoy making work that sits uncomfortably between narrative and the absurd. For ‘DeadClub’ we have been working closely with the team at The Place who commissioned the project and who are co-producing it with Fuel.

CM: What’s coming up next for you, after DeadClub?
R&R: UndeadClub: it’s a kind of Zombie version of our current show. Everyone still loves Zombies.

‘Deadclub’ is on at The Place from 9-30 Sep. For information and to book see this page here.

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