Institut Français d’Ecosse, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 9th August 2015
The creaking of the tent gives way to liquid dripping and footsteps, mingling with the sounds of traffic outside. The rhythm is unusual. Are they, after all, footsteps? Rhythm is an all important factor in this debut solo show from Clément Dazin, who combines his passions for juggling, contemporary dance and hip-hop movement in a reflection on time, ageing and control.
Dazin materialises onstage, crossing in front of us with a slow, Kabuki-like walk and a tiny three-ball cascade played between his hands and belly. A stop. Glitches of expansion. Flares of life. A pre-recorded woman’s voice talks about speed of flight, while Dazin makes his way around and around a square of light on the floor, no longer formally stylised, but a real slow-motion version of normal walking (never an easy thing to emulate accurately). One white ball makes measured circuits around the palm of his hand.
In much of his movement Dazin appears to put himself out of balance, with both his body and his balls, interspersed with staccato gestural flashes. When these rapid sequences take in and reference the real actions of audience members in real time, I experience a jolt of pleasure; this man is not in a separate world to us, merely a separate dimension. It also introduces a sense of playfulness that is developed to bring a sense of warmth and humanity to the man.
When Dazin’s hands emerge into their own light, I wonder what it means to a juggler when his hands begin to shake. What will it mean to each of us when we begin to lose control of our bodies? The excellent lighting, designed by Freddy Bonneau, provides shadowy paths and pedestals for the Dazin’s shifting forms. Even his face appears to change before our eyes, from middle-age to youth and back again.
I wonder, as his swinging body becomes the ticking clock, who is in control here: the time, or the man? He cannot keep everything in check interminably.
At 35 minutes, this is a shorter show than most of the Edinburgh Fringe offerings, but is well worth the walk up to the French Institute for its thoughtful poesy and unusual use of a jugglers’ skill. Additional choreographic outside eyes have come from Bruno Dizien, Aragorn Boulanger and Johanne Saunier. The ending, as Dazin heads once more towards the light, offers it’s own powerful jolt. Inspired by near death experience, Bruit de Couloir* is a production that makes us reframe life.
*(The title, if you’re interested, translates as ‘noise corridor’, which is apparently also a French colloquialism for ‘rumours’.)