I’m not one hundred per cent certain I can constructively comment on what I just saw except that it was fucking amazing. I’d heard of DV8, it’s the go to theatre company when you want to make your drama degree practical more theatrical. You make it physical, you know, like DV8. The teachers will lap that shit up. And alas, they do. I was never sold. I found words to be more powerful. Since seeing The National Theatre and DV8’s John, my mind has been changed.
DV8’s latest piece can be described as verbatim. They interviewed a variety of people, as soon as John started to tell his story, it was clear that this was going to be about him and only him. Drug addictions, petty crime, and serious crime; there was a wealth of drama to devise from. Like the dancers… actors…performers, not sure what’s correct, the stage was constantly moving. It’s rotated revealing new rooms and new settings but also exposes dark corridors and hidden corners.
Those drama students were right, you can say as much with movement as you can with words. The company, under the direction of Lloyd Newson, have taken John’s phrases and mannerisms from the interview and emphasised the important bits. Lawyers are sketchy characters so the performers shuffled around each other. Heroin addiction and withdrawal takes over your body so the performers shake uncontrollably. I told you I’m no position to talk about this, I have no idea what I saw! Was it dance? Was it theatre? It was a physical theatre group telling the story of one man the best way they can. It’s incredible.