man’s gone now
(2003) - Vif du Sujet, programme A
production Sacd/Festival d'Avignon
Opiyo Okach, performer - Julyen Hamilton, choreographer
No Man’s Gone Now was created for festival Avignon 2003 within the SACD (copyright society for authors and composers) program Vif du Sujet. The particularity of Vif du Sujet lies in the fact that it is the dancer who chooses a choreographer with whom to create a solo.The specificity of the solo ‘No Man’s Gone Now’ is that Opiyo Okach chose to work with Julyen Hamilton on improvisation and instant composition putting into risk the performer-author/dancer-choreographer relationship. Being an instant composition work initially created for an open air theatre at festival Avignon another specificity of the solo is that it adopts and feeds on the character of the different spaces within which it is presented. It is conceived for presentation as much within closed black boxes as open air non-theatre spaces.
to now in your evolution as performer how have you lived the relationship
to solo ?
Opiyo Okach : From the moment I shifted to working with mime and physical theatre I automatically found myself creating and interpreting my own work. It wasn't out of choice to become a solo artist. There simply weren't other people pursuing such line of work in Nairobi where I started. It has become a way of working alongside ensemble work.
In the solo I find a certain liberty of personal choice in a way that is quite different to when working with other dancing partners. The pressure of limits and freedoms comes more from within rather than outside. But contrary to self-indulgence this being ‘alone’ on stage accentuates the role and presence of ‘invisible partners’. It heightens the extent to which, besides light and music, one can engage the spatial specificities of a venue and the presence of different audiences at each performance as active partners that influence the evolution and dynamics of choice.
Solo work has led me towards an interest in the relationship between event, time, place and the ephemeral character of live performance. The fact that an action doesn’t always produce the same result is such a basic truth that it seems odd to suspend it by default as performance strategy. Something seems contradictory about live performance being fundamentally predetermined future/reconstructed past; especially when the intention is an illusion of present moment.
you talk of the passage between “choreograph a solo for oneself”
and create a solo for other than yourself?
in England and now based in Girona, Spain Julyen was trained in London in
the mid-70s and has since been a constant exponent of innovative performances
throughout Europe. One
of Europe's foremost improvisors, he has performed in many group configurations
creating solo and collaborative work all over the world as well as directing
the Julyen Hamilton Company throughout Europe.
The Company work develops dance for the theatre where dancers and light designer are directed to compose pieces instantly; a process of practising improvisation in rehearsal and in the moment of performance.
In 1984 he was awarded the 'Zilveren Dansprij' by the VSCD in Holland.
Since 1980 his experience and interest in performing with live musicians has constituted a main area of work; among others he has played with Barre Phillips, Fred Frith, Le Quan Ninh, Alfred Spirli, and Micha Mengelberg. His solo '40 MONOLOGUES', premiered in England in 1995 and subsequently succesfully playing throughout the world is followed by his new solo "SUITE". His skills in improvisation are highly developed, his performances expressing his belief that improvisation is a valid performance mode in its own right. He is well respected for his refined teaching which reflects his research and development into efficient ways in which both technique and improvisational skills might be imparted. He is regularly invited to teach in major training centres throughout the world.