Flotsam: That sinking feeling

I had a dream last night, set on some stage with wings, in which someone asked if there was a notation for dance, to which, in my dream, I answered, “yes, Laban.” And then, in my dream, I understood the meaning of the book in Flotsam: it was the notation of Elu’s ballets.

Except, it wasn’t. I don’t know what the book signified. Nor the little brown teddy bear – except that it’s all the flotsam of precious things discarded by people who can’t stay psychically afloat. And, here, our protagonist jumps into uncertain currents himself and lands up on some metaphorical island. For what conceptual import?

Writer and director Sam Pennington’s narrative and concept are unclear, but the performer, Ryan Napier, is working very hard to bring it to life, whatever it is trying to say.

Through the use of mime, physical storytelling, puppetry, pre-recorded shadow puppetry, soundtrack, soundscape and lighting, the clown works with fervoured concentration to make material this animation of a desired, and needed, personal and social paradigm shift.

At the end of the show an audience member behind us said: “That was a tour de force.” Yes, on the part of the hard-working performer. But to what end?

Iaway both narratively and conceptually mystified and neither moved nor elucidated about social or personal issues.


Writer and director: Sam Pennington

Designer: Natasha Warren-Stone

Sound: Richard Baker

Visual Technicians: Frank Harris and James Fancis

Performer: Ryan Napier


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