Yes and Yes – Project Arts Centre – Review
Liz Roche Company presents – Yes and Yes
Dance / 10-12 November 2022
Ulysses was first published in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, on Joyce’s 40th birthday. To commemorate the centenary, 18 “artistic experiments” were commissioned to reflect on the work in some fashion (you can find details of these commissions here). This new dance piece by Liz Roche is one of these experiments, with the name of the production coming from the last section of the novel, with Molly Bloom’s thoughts as she lies next to her husband in bed “…yes I said yes I will Yes”.
The piece takes the form of a series of short segments reflecting different elements of the novel. It “maps the movement of the narrative through the streets of Dublin in 1904 and explores those same spaces and encounters today”.
The stage is mostly empty, with lighting visible on either side of the set and above. At the back of the stage, there is a letterbox-shaped screen. This is used to show text from the novel, along with images of the streets of Dublin. Some of these streetscapes remain unchanged since the time of Joyce, whereas others are quite modern. There is also a segment of video shot on Sandymount strand and other settings taken from the novel.
The costume design by Katie Davenport is also impressive. For most of the production, it is quite modest in style, reflecting the time of the novel. In one of the final sections, the dancers wear ‘onsie’ bodysuits, covering them from head to toe in floral prints! The dancers emerge from backstage with clothes covering their bodysuits, before they are slowly revealed as they ‘strip off’. They look like strange ghoulish creatures visiting our world.
As you would expect, despite the other elements, the dancers are the focus of the piece. The movements vary between the pieces, also the characters on stage change, with four dancers in some segments and solo dancers in others. The variety of the piece reflects a book that contains diverse images and writing styles. Joyce’s own daughter, Lucia, was a professional dancer, so it is quite fitting that Dance was chosen as one of the artistic styles to reflect his great work. The team involved in this production have created something vibrant and sensual to explore the world of the novel.
Created and Choreographed by Liz Roche
In collaboration with dancers –
Sarah Cerneaux, Mufutau Yusuf, Diarmuid Armstrong and Grace Cuny
Music – Ray Harman
Stage and Costume Design – Katie Davenport
Lighting Design – Davison Scandrett
Film and Videography – José Miguel Jiménez
Dramaturgy – Wayne Jordan
Costume Supervisor – James Seaver