Monday, February 14, 2011

Originally posted on Londonist, here.

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10 mg dance, 8mg theatre, 3.75 ml science: Side Effects is a performance exploring society's relationship to medicine. Can it make us feel better about what we take to feel better?

REPORT: patient analysis after one dose of dance-theatre SIDE EFFECTS provided by dANTE OR dIE.

PRESCRIPTION: One hour treatment, evening. Taken with one glass of wine (red).

DISPENSING VENUE: Rich Mix, east London.

MEDICATION: dance-theatre piece exploring society's relationship to medicine.

dANTE OR dIE's latest performance is a series of movement sequences and recitations of a life time intake of drugs. Ibuprofen gel for knee pain, cream for pubic lice, the daily contraceptive pill, antidepressant, Pro-Plus to wake-up, Temazepam to get to sleep... these form the rhythms and rituals of normal, everyday lives. Translated into rhythmic and ritualised movement, set to Yaniv Fridel's moving original score, the performers give us back our casual medical consumption as something special, extraordinary.

SIDE EFFECTS: will not cause drowsiness. Some tenderness may occur.

The five performers range from 20 to 75 years old, representing the full set of medicinal needs and whimsies in one lifetime. They are frank but unconfrontational, confessing what Simon Rice takes to combat hairloss and build up muscle. The touching vulnerability in Antigone Avdi's anti-anxiety medicine sequence, the harrowing effects of Betsy Field's heart attack, Terry O'Donovan's recap of medicine from childhood to adulthood and the significance of the Fraggle Rock theme tune are complemented by Laure Bachelot's private, intimate daily routines. The performance is a complete picture of a society ticking along, quietly medicated, pain-free and getting by on 0.5mg of Xanax per day.

Side Effects is a rare glimpse into the emotional relationship we have with our drugs, without judgement, sentimentalism or sensationalism. This is an uplifting, tender exploration of whether or not we feel better about the medicine we take to feel better.

RE-FILLS: Side Effects, at Rich Mix, Sunday 13 February (7.30pm) and at Laban, Tuesday 1 March (7.30pm).

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