Dance Theatre of Ireland’s most ambitious and technically demanding work to date, As A Matter of Fact draws from sources as rich and diverse as the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci and the writings of Barbara Kingsolver to Annual Quality of Life Reports and “Fast Food Nation”. This work presents facts — shocking, humorous, thought-provoking, sometimes disquieting — surrounded by breathtaking visuals (digital scenography) projected on three walls (each 7.5 metres wide and 4.5 metres tall) and the floor (12 x 10 metres), created by Swiss technical design team Tenteki.
The Digital Graphic Imagery includes scrolling binary codes, intersecting lines,
concentric circles, exploding pinwheels and the abstract use of broad bands of colour as décor and lighting. It also includes typographically designed advertising slogans, graceful swamp reeds, water, forests, lightening and Dr. Paul Ekman’s images of the Facial Action Coding System, a method Dr. Ekman developed to objectively describe and measure facial expressions and movement, and has been widely used in psychology and criminology. Small movements in the face — mouth, eyebrows, eyes — were manipulated, morphed and projected with great variation for surprising effects.
Described as a “map of the human heart” by RTÉ Entertainment, the aim of the project was also to create an immersive, 3-D environment, constantly changing, like the dance, and as versatile and fluid as human gesture. While the dancers do not physically trigger an interaction with the imagery, it is a carefully constructed work where image and movement can be seen as one and are simultaneously received with maximum impact
“This work is spectacular…The stardust theory of everything and more… [a]Map of the Human Heart…The company take the theatre part of this multi-media calling to heart…
The dancers are faultless…embodying the humour and pathos of the texts, of the human condition.”
Mary Finn, RTÉ Guide
“…action-packed, multi media production…nothing less than stunning.
Through a combination of movement, speech, written word and video imagery, memorable snippets are delivered. Diverse in subject range…an international line up, ever elegant and fluid, maintain the energy level throughout. How far your food has travelled to make it to your plate…why a man taught his children the art of tooth brushing to a metronome...that every breath taken in a lifetime contains some of the same molecules inhaled as a newborn.
When all the theatrical elements collide, the effect is sublime. Highlights include a series of beautiful duets which illustrates the jagged, unstable connections between people.”
S. Mannion, RTE Entertainment
“….beautiful, profound and moving work of art.
Loretta Yurick and Robert Connor have consistently challenged the boundaries of contemporary performance and their latest show “As A Matter of Fact,” pushes the boat out further again…part of their secret is the quality of their bringing together the genius of amazing Irish instrumentalist Dara O’Brien, video pioneersTenteki (Switzerland), their dancers, writer Joe O’Byrne and the voices of Ellen Cranitch and Philip Judge.
…from the impossibility of revisiting old love wounds and arguments to issues about extraordinary facts on how we consume everything from food to distance and time…one can only look on in awe at the beauty of the images, sounds, and dance created in collaboration for “As A Matter of Fact”.
…The stage space itself has a Zen-like emptiness until it is filled with dancers and video screen images that can be projected onto three constructed sides and the floor. These images consist of words, the sea, water, plant life, stormy rural sky scenes and, of course, a proliferation of words and sentences, complete and incomplete….the dancers themselves talk, most notably when one dancer describes the movement of another …or in the Ken Kesey-inspired The Hundredth Monkey story…
In this midst…are the dancers, our human representatives of what is done, and what we do, to the human. Struggle, surprise, entanglement, panic, stress, bafflement and the desire to continue on in spite of it all are manifest in the witty and graceful choreography in which Vanessa Spinassa appears to stand out, though Beauchamp, Lamprinou, O’Kane, Paquemar and Ramos all bring their individuality to bear.
….when we see innovative cross-disciplinary theatrical shows from other countries we often bemoan the absence of such exciting occurrences from our own companies. Thankfully, though we have Dance Theatre of Ireland.”
P.Brennan, Irish Examiner
“You have the immediacy of dance, the manipulative power of technology, the spontaneity of movement, the emotion that is difficult for digital image to mirror…when it works, it has so much potential.
This piece could well be Connor and Yurick’s biggest challenge to date… ‘the basic starting point was words’…categories of words on: statistics, quality of life, religion, population, food species extinction, facts about the body and time…[it] pulls together ideas and sentiments on the gasping race of daily existence, illustrated not only with dance, but also with text, music and video backdrops.”
C. Madden, The Irish Times
“Video projections provide a luscious space for the dancers to perform in. The danger can be that the graphic imagery could dominate. This is never allowed to happen. .... beautiful movement…it flows and never jars on the eye.
Live music composed and performed by Dara O’Brien plays a major part of this production. O’Brien draws on Western music, Indian Classical music, Blues & Rock styles with the occasional nod to Hendrix and Ry Cooder…he provides stunning accompaniment …the sense of interplay and communication between the dancers and the musician is exhilarating.”
The text by Joe O’Byrne and Loretta Yurick is also fascinating…providing insights into human psychology and contemporary life… The interaction of choreography, video and graphic imagery, live music and text makes for a very opulent and seductive evening…beautifully polished.”
P. Clancy, Dance Europe
Premiered November 5, 2003 the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
Choreography, Concept & Design: Robert Connor & Loretta Yurick. Dancers: Gillian Beauchamp, Styliani Lamprinou, Emma O’Kane, Karl Paquemar, Vanessa Spinassa, Angel Zotes Ramos. Original Music, played live: Dara O’Brien. Additional Original Music: Fran Hegarty. Text Montage: Joe O’Byrne, Loretta Yurick & others.
Video & Graphic Imagery: Tenteki (Switzerland). Costumes: Sinead Cuthbert. Lighting Design: Sinead McKenna.