Review by Kate Gaul
As We Are company (Luxemburg) are dancers Baptiste Hilbert and Catarina Barbosa. They present “Shoot the Cameraman”. The production blends the instinctive and spontaneous quality of live performance with the intersection of live cinema. Camera operators follow the dancers live onstage. The audience is offered a double reading of the piece simultaneously live and on screen. By forcing the audience to choose where their attention lies, “Shoot the Cameraman” challenges and plays with perspectives. While what we see with our own eyes may seem unadulterated, it quickly becomes apparent that a captured image can be pure manipulation. “Shoot the Cameraman” thus questions the omnipresence of images in our lives and focuses the critical gaze of the audience. The blurb tells us “It is an impressive production in the age of fake news.” I guess we’ve all seen versions of this kind of theatre both narrative and abstract.
The dance component is dazzling. There are many different styles at play here and the sheer skill of this intense duo is undeniable. However, the sinister nature of the of the piece which depicts and abusive and controlling relationship is extreme and unrelenting. Coupled with the objectification of the body by the camera and the insistence from the female dancer to become objectified was a complete turn off for me. The company’s press release states, “the narrative of “Shoot the Cameraman” retraces the radicalisation and the seizure of power of an individual within a couple and the society that surrounds it. This is followed by a subtle power struggle between all characters and the object of power and the misuse of its application.” Yeah, OK
The camera work was really the weakest part of the event. As a visually sophisticated culture – and having seen SO MUCH cinema in the theatre – it really must be top notch to make an impact. Is it more than a curiosity to see on a screen what cannot be seen onstage?
I adored the skill and stamina of the dancers. I couldn’t get past the content and didn’t find the addition of the camera work enhanced the work thematically or aesthetically. Perhaps the title is an invitation.