Time off the day job is always precious, so on the recommendation of a fellow reporter to book a day off work (Wednesday 17th September) and travel to Dublin (Project Arts Centre) just to see a 40 minute piece of performance art (ok and to pop into TempleBar as well) is potentially reckless. Thankfully however I was not disappointed, The Tale of Ancient Lights is a one-man show that brings ancient legend and contemporary theatre together into an engaging spectacle of illumination, sound, movement and a little magic.
There is no dialogue or narrator so the audience are encouraged to draw their own interpretation. Riuchi, an elderly traveller who on encountering an ancient scroll is magically driven back into his past and through the ages of his ancestry. In a room completely in darkness and a set consisting of a few basic structures across the floor only coming to life through the performer’s manipulation, the audience focus is fixed throughout.
Precisely choreographed dance threads each character’s story together; a warrior darts through the mist in a swordfight, another dances through whirls of light and a quirky scientist conducts magical experiments in the shadows.
A handful of props and illuminated LED objects are cleverly used,manipulating light into hypnotic shapes and rhythms that alongside some atmospheric smoke and dust effects provide a genuinely cinematic quality to the performance. Seemingly a physically demanding show, the movement is constant and shifts between numerous styles ranging from the contemporary to more expressive, martial arts inspired dance. Likewise the sound flows between ambient noise, classical and electronic sounds to further add character to the separate stories. It’s clear that each of these elements have been carefully considered; for the most part the show is well paced and skilfully executed.
I’ll admit ‘performance art’ is normally my least favourite type of art, I’m often a bit weary of it and perhaps for that prejudice I have missed some good work. This has certainly helped to ease this, as I would recommend this show to anyone, performance lovers and sceptics alike. A stylish collision of old traditions and new art forms, The Tale of Ancient Lights is a visual treat and a truly unique performance that can do nothing less than inspire.
For more information on Riuchi & A Tale of Ancient Lights click here.
For more information on Project Arts Centre click here.
A Tale of Ancient Lights was shown as part of Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2014.
For more information on Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival click here.