Vesalii Icones and the Horizon of Expectation

With only one show to go, I thought I'd post a taste of more to come.

Conceived at the height of his career in experimental music for the stage, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Vesalii Icones was originally scored for the Pierrot Players, a group started by Davies that would redefine the meaning of fringe, and push German expressionism to new extremes. Unlike Pierrot, Vesalii is written for a single dancer who interacts silently with a discordant ensemble. As Davies’ only choreographed work, Vesalii permitted experimentation on a new level with two of the composer’s perennial preoccupations: excessive embodiment, and the slippery division between sacred and profane. The piece begins with an unlikely superimposition of 16th-century anatomical diagrams with the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The above diagram corresponds with Davies' sixth station, Christ receives the Cross. It is the task of dancer and ensemble to intelligibly engage two systems of representation (religious iconography and the
medicalization of bodies in decay) very much at odds with one another -- or perhaps offering unexpected mutual illumination.

With direction by Majel Connery (Ph.D. candidate, University of Chicago), stage design by Rose DiSalvo (B.A., UCLA; MFA Art Institute of Chicago), choreography by Adrian Jevicki, and with dancers Brian Moore and Sam Goodman. Preview performance Monday, September 7th at High Concept Laboratories at 8p. Discussion with Luis-Manuel Garcia at 9p. Till then.


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