The Dutch have an expression that translates as "sawing the legs of your own chair".
In this latest Reckless Sleepers project, choreographer Leen Dewilde and composer/SCO cellist Su-a Lee have devised a literal account of those words that cunningly swithers (wordlessly) between farcical brinkmanship and a process of unrelenting destruction. By the end, it's hard to avoid unnerving thoughts of our actions, our choices, actually leaving us without a leg (or a planet) to sit on.
Five women, including Su-a Lee, take saws to the chairs beneath them. The rasping notes of metal teeth on wood create a rhythmic soundscore that Lee subsequently counterpoints with looping textures on her cello, her bowing a visual echo of the sawing arms. Chairs tip and lurch, the women perch and re-balance, but saw on. Even when only sawdust remains as witness to their time, they start again on the other side of a dividing scrim, as if no lessons have been learned – unless Lee's eerily lovely playing of her saw is a hopeful reminder of how the arts, and creativity, can sometimes transcend scenes of devastation.
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This intriguing production was the first offering in Tramway's Rip It Up season, which continues until March, and on this evidence it will be well worth checking out.