Antony Hamilton - Chunky Move: Keep Everything
Keep Everything works on the premise that from a single point of departure, an endless array of events can unfold when the subconscious is given permission to lead. While developing the work, there is little editing, and even less contextual analysis of the content as it unfolds.
In contrast, there is a conscious attempt to avoid neatly organising events into a logical and well crafted dramaturgical narrative. This approach favours the stream of consciousness as the catalyst for forms and shapes to arrive in the mind, and follow in the space.
Matters of taste, value and appropriateness within a particular context are all brought into question as deeper instinctive responses to basic human traits drive the creation.
The strange patterns and rhythms derived from this ramshackle assemblage of components, in the end, evoke a dichotomy between what has meaning and what is meaningless.
Images: Jeff Busby
National Tour 2014
Adelaide – Vitalstatistix, 16 – 19 July
Perth – PICA, 23 – 26 July
Brisbane – Powerhouse, 30 July – 2 August
Hobart – Salamanca Arts Centre, 6 – 9 August
Sydney – Performance Space, 13 – 17 August
Melbourne – Arts House, 20 – 24 August
Toured by Performing Lines for Mobile States, with the support of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Next Move Commission
Chunky Move Studios, Melbourne
14 – 22 June 2012
Director & Choreograper: Antony Hamilton
Lighting Design: Benjamin Cisterne
Sound Design: Julian Hamilton & Kim Moyes
AV Design: Robin Fox
System Design & Operation: Nick Roux
Costume Design Consultant: Paula Levis
Performers: Benjamin Hancock, Lauren Langlois, Alisdair Macindoe
"WITH a bit of Einstein on the Beach over here, a spot of 2001: A Space Odyssey over there, a suggestion of wonky 1950s sci-fi film, images of sleek robotics and a sliver or two of domestic life, Keep Everything is both an eclectic treasure trove of references and utterly and beguilingly itself.
With only three performers and a set consisting of bits and bobs of rubbish there’s a hand-made quality to Keep Everything entirely in keeping with the original impulse of choreographer Antony Hamilton: to take dance ideas he’d previously discarded and see where they went. Where they went was somewhere much more intriguing than you might expect from airing a few ideas that didn’t made the cut.
Keep Everything is nothing less than a breathless (literally at many points) race through human history from the primordial swamp to a mechanistic future and back again. It may have a deceptively grungy air but is, in fact, incredibly virtuosic, highly expressive and tightly organised.
Often working with complex rhythms or durations that must be calibrated precisely to the micro-second the dancers – Benjamin Hancock, Lauren Langlois and Alisdair Macindoe – seamlessly evolve sounds and movements from primitive to futuristic via the quotidian stuff of everyday life: getting the dog to come in, having sex, giving birth, that sort of thing. The phrase “keep everything” takes on a multiplicity of meanings: Hamilton’s use of material; the junk strewn around that speaks of our over-stuffed material society; the need to hang on to other people; the desire to gather experiences and sensations; the need to keep making a noise, whether grunting, conversing, screaming or spewing strings of numbers. (The last sees Langlois and Macindoe in tremendous form – the Einstein moment.)
All this – and there’s a lot packed into a fast-flowing hour – happens to a whiz-bang sound design from Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes (The Presets), Benjamin Cisterne’s exceptional lighting design and Robin Fox’s AV design. There’s a lot of serious talent on board.
Best of all, Keep Everything is effortlessly witty. Not always something you can count on in contemporary dance. I’m sure I heard Langlois whisper “this isn’t working” at one point, and I hope I did. It was funny because obviously everything was going like a rocket, and funny because it was like a little ghost bobbing up from a time when Hamilton was choreographing and decided not to use this scrap of an idea.
The moment passed quickly and I accept I may have been mistaken. I may have misheard. But I’ll take Hamilton’s advice and, you know, keep everything.
Keep Everything was Chunky Move’s 2012 Next Move commission. You can’t fault their taste."
Incredibly virtuosic, highly expressive
"Opening with billowing smoke catching coloured flashes of lights that synchronise with thumping beats and frozen, crouching forms dimly visible through the haze, this off-kilter start to a dance performance cues the audience to expect the unexpected. Abruptly, the music and lighting changes to a harsh even white light, revealing a stark white stage littered with vaguely industrial detritus beneath the clearing smoke. From one of the piles comes a small voice, causing the two crouching forms to twitch and jerk, responding like winsomely animated figures.
Antony Hamilton’s choreography aims to ‘keep everything’ by providing a second life to sequences not used in previous productions, finding use for abandoned creative detritus. Using a freewheeling association of ideas, the dancers move from a primordial state, discover the human passion for organisation, explore their humanity from primate proclivities to perfect poses and then transcend this by returning to the original state and rejecting this artificial notion of order. And there are many numbers involved along the way. This may be a reviewer’s futile attempt to impose an arbitrary narrative structure and existential meaning to something ultimately without structure or meaning or simply the result of a director choreographer’s determination to ‘keep everything’ during the creative process – it is up to each audience member to decide for themselves!
Benjamin Hancock, Lauren Langlois and Alisdair Macindoe impress not only with physical control and response to specific choreographed direction, but with their presentation of lines that would challenge many actors more accustomed to vocal, verbal performances. Langlois particularly reveals a lovely singing voice as well as strength and flexibility while executing a surreal flow-of-consciousness series of poses. Macindoe delivers clear ideas in lecture form as well as working successfully with Hancock to produce puppetry with face. Hancock manages to keep his own facial expressions under control for the whole hour, never betraying any response to the ludicrous or strenuous physical outpourings of himself or his colleagues. The trio perform impressive sets of movements, working through concepts and motions, not necessarily in tight unison but with a unified sympathy of purpose, however startling and abstract that may become as it develops. The sequence involving Langlois, Macindoe and number patterns is a highlight that amazes both as it happens and again, later, when reflecting on just how difficult that must have been to perfect as both a movement and rapid spoken delivery piece.
Featuring a killer electronic soundtrack from The Presets’ Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes, the pulsing, driving beat meets its match in the compelling and startling lighting design from Ben Cistern and the projection design from Robin Fox. At several points in the performance the technical aspects are the stars; dancers’ bodies existing to become more or less visible through smoke, limbs on display only to create forms with light and shadow – this never becomes dull, with masters of their art utilising bass, rhythm and disturbing feedback whines to create an intensely rich soundscape throughout.
Intensely developed, light-heartedly presented, with tight technical control making the most of every moment, Chunky Move brings an extraordinary explosion of ideas and dance with Keep Everything.
Chunky Move: Keep Everything
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"Keep Everything begins without movement. Sound crackles from speakers first on stage left and then on stage right, pulsing back and forth between our ears. The crackling becomes synth music, reminiscent of an 80s video game. Lights flash down on a pile of black rubble, foam shapes and unidentifiable objects. Smoke travels across the stage to this rubble, and there drifts upwards, giving the appearance of it being on fire.
Then, white lights illuminate the stage. At the back squats Lauren Langlois and Alisdair Macindoe. And there, from the pile of rubble, is the face of Benjamin Hancock greeting the audience.
As he speaks – asking how we are, offering a cup of tea – Langlois and Macindoe at first appear to be pre-human creatures. Cavemen or Neanderthals, perhaps. But then as we examine their rhythmic and angular movements we start to question: are they post-human? Robots, maybe? Later, Macindoe moves to the front of the stage and gestures behind him, asking us to consider “the human”. So are we watching humans after all?
Director and choreographer Antony Hamilton built Keep Everything after posing the questions: what if he created a work from ideas he had discarded in the past? What would it mean to take these ideas that had been left, and instead keep everything?
In lesser hands, this would lead to a confused assortment, but Hamilton has built a compelling and thorough structure of ideas and images that continually morphs and grows.
As we observe the initial duality of possibilities in the actions of these cavemen/humanoid hybrids, the three dancers pull their bodies out from these low scavenging moves. Movement begins to pass between the three like a wave as they move apart and then come together. They begin to hit one another, and this grows in intensity, until it becomes rhythmic patting. Perhaps they are collectively preparing for a race.
As the three circle around the stage, sliding one foot in front of the other, their cavemen muttering grows into phrases, their actions changing to match the words. “Do you want some dinner?” they ask, a thrusting arm turning into a small point. “It’s all your fault,” is yelled as they lunge, filled with accusation.
Keep Everything is an exhilarating and hilarious work, underpinned by strong design (sound design by Hamilton's brother Julian Hamilton with Kim Moyes, better known as the electronica duo the Presets, and lights from Benjamin Cisterne). The director incorporates scenes that range from the visually simple (when the performers stand still for minutes under white lights), to the complex (detailed choreography of the final scenes under pumping house music).
But even when Hamilton’s staging is seemingly simple, complexity underpins it. One such example sees Langlois and Macindoe kneel and stare out at the audience, tapping plastic tubes against the floor, but from their mouths comes a seemingly endless string of numbers, an apparent simultaneous stream of consciousness.
Hamilton’s cast are skilled dancers, but also compelling in their performance of the text, and as an audience we want to follow them through the work. What direction they will take in any given moment is often unforeseen, and that change never truly clear until they are completely on top of the transition.
It is this unpredictability from which the work derives its fun and becomes a show that examines, not only what it means to hold onto everything and what it means to be human, but also of how artists piece together their work."
Keep Everything review — rejected ideas find brilliant second life
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“What are ya thinking about?” The challenge is set and this is not a rhetorical question – comfortable audiences are about to be unsettled as contemporary meets confronting. Keep Everything is a whole body experience!
Melbourne-based performance company Chunky Move mashes movement with voice with technology and for 60 minutes our world evolves, devolves and revolves before us in a chaos that is disorderly ordered.
It has been two years since the premiere of Antony Hamilton’s Keep Everything, a work which questions whether humans can every truly find contentment in the present, and the performance at Adelaide’s AC Arts theatre clearly shows us why he is so highly regarded as a choreography and director.
This portrait of humanity has hints of the post-apocalyptic with a creative splash of inevitability; the human condition is profiled unapologetically.
In some regards, this is a reunion of sorts, with core players the rider for a national tour. On stage, the original cast members – Benjamin Hancock, Alisdair Macindoe and Lauren Langlois – are lithe, powerful and exquisite; this is a metamorphosis of movement. Behind the scenes, Nick Roux (system designs) and Benjamin Cisterne (lighting design) provide a presence that is an identity of its own.
As a reflection of life, there’s space, form, chaos, substance and oblivion, and Hamilton openly taunts: Where are we now?
Joint composers Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes (of The Presets) have nurtured sounds that resonate and stimulate; there is a synchronicity with the visuals that is real.
Thanks to this Performing Lines production, presented by Vitalstatistix and Mobile States, we are privy to a junkyard of humanity that showcases the power of the absurd and the ingenuity of the mundane."
Chunky Move’s Keep Everything