I collaborated with eight professional and nonprofessional performers between nine and 80 years old to create a dance performance that explored, embodied and celebrated wildness. Wild Life was commissioned and shown at Platform in 2014 and 2016.
Collaborators & performers: Lennon Che Campbell, Geraldine Heaney, Irene Kelso, Archie Lacey, Pete Lannon, Liz Lumsden, Graham Mack, Gaby McCann, Carragh McLavin.
Dramaturgy: Laura Bradshaw
Lighting design: Suzie Normand
Funded by Creative Scotland, Made in Easterhouse and Catherine Wheels Theatre Company.
|Title||Wild Life 4 star review The Herald, Mary Brennan|
|Degree of recognition||National|
|Media name/outlet||The Herald|
|Description||Hey! Hey! Everyone is running and jumping, children and adults alike - as if the Platform studio was their playground. We are sitting in a circle round them, a part of the game-plan that Sarah Hopfinger has initiated with the group, because Wild Life is a far-reaching reminder of who we are, and where we come from in time and landscape.|
Hopfinger's gung-ho wild bunch is a mix of ages and performance experience: two children, a teenager, five adults (including two men of mature years) who plunge wholeheartedly into what it means to be "wild".
There are animalistic lumberings, hints of pack behaviour - like childhood "Simon says" capers - alongside the beginnings of tribal rituals. Is the hefting of large stones a test of stamina, or the start of henges past? If a cross-generational community emerges through the mischief and collaboration of games-play, individual "wild" selves can, and do, surface, never more joyously than when Geraldine Heaney cuts loose and dances. The groove is pure 21st century, the energy and exhilaration is timeless.
Gradually, as significant elements - stone, water, fire - come into play, simple tasks take on complex meanings and the "archaeology" of Wild Life jigsaws into images of how our roaming ancestors settled into hearth-land ways.
An outburst of mutual drenchings now feels like the anarchic predecessor of ancient mid-winter rites. Soaking, the group clusters in the stone circle that has become home, the flaring light of their short-lived matches vanishing into the darkness of history. When a clatter of skimming stones clutter that circle into anonymity, you realise how easy it is to walk past, without noticing, the traces of humanity in the wild.