DDF News — 25 May 2024

DDF Blog: Review of CARCAÇA

DDF Blog: Review of CARCAÇA

The audience enters to find a cavernous empty stage, the rigs, the wires, the inner workings of the spectacle are laid bare. A drum kit sits downstage and two mics are visible in the wings. We are met with a skeleton waiting to be animated. CARCAÇA - carcass, shell, structure. The bones that are left when flesh and blood are stripped away, the foundations on which we are built and the thing that holds us together.

Marco da Silva Ferreira has created a powerful and energetic meditation on the relationship between past and present. Integrating contemporary urban dance styles with elements of traditional European folk dance, da Silva Ferreira and his fellow performers explore this relationship and ask; what need be preserved, what should be adapted, and what must be left behind?

What is transmitted to the audience perhaps more than this provocation regarding the past, are the elements of community and communal identity that take centre stage throughout this piece. As ten dancers and two performers first take to the stage, house lights continue to illuminate the audience - we are invited to see each other and see ourselves as participants in this communal practice. Da Silva Ferreira’s choreography explores community not only through radical inclusion, but through motifs and moments of exclusion and isolation as well. During one particularly poignant formation the dancers create a border across the stage with their contorted bodies, as the border shifts downstage one performer is left behind. Evocatively questioning the place of individual identity in the formation of community. 

These moments of gravity are counterposed with the playfulness and exuberant sense of joy which form the lasting impression of the piece. One such moment of juxtaposition is the performance of a Portuguese anti-fascist folk song, staged with such camp reverence the audience shouted out in appreciation. At this convergence between rumination and levity a kineticism emerges in performer and audience alike, causing the latter to jump to their feet the moment the performance ended. 

Da Silva Ferreira encourages his audience to allow CARCAÇA to inspire political reflection. Staged within the changing cultural landscape that is contemporary Dublin, this performance reminds us of the vibrancy, energy, and sometimes magic that is born when traditional artistic expression leaves itself open to diverse influences.

Review by Cara Brophy Brown
Cara is a researcher, oral historian, theater maker, and teacher. She is particularly interested in the use of documentary and archival materials in performance.

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