Deliver Us

a romance (1999)


the maths: 1 weekend: 1 flat: 1 locked door: 1 phone off the hook: 1 full freezer: 1 bed: 2 lovers: how many loves?

1: look into your lover’s eyes for a very long time indeed: what do you see? 2: study his face like your life depended on it: is his smile your working definition of trust? 3: close your eyes tight and imagine a world without her. (Pause a bit.) Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? 4: why isn’t there world enough and time enough and love songs enough for this?

By falling in love with love, Bodies in Flight’s second collaboration with media artist Caroline Rye continued our fascination with what happens when flesh meets image-text, when the apparition encounters the incarnation. Choreography, text, video interact to explore that interface with the divine that we all experience when we fall in love, the anxieties and ecstasies, the unbearable and yet undeniable undecidability of that first chance encounter that leads to the blissful/ terrible [delete as appropriate] forever-after.

Inspired by the long scene of Sunday morning post-coital reverie in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, this piece charted the whole arc of a love affair from first-night ecstasies to end-of-romance recriminations. To intensify the focus on minute action and choreography, we built a small theatre-in-the-round in every venue we performed in, so that the audience felt they were right in there with the lovers. Audiences who turned up “in couples” were asked to sit across the space from one another. Thus they were able, if they had so wished, to re-enact in their own mutual gaze that of the performers, looking over the space of the performed gaze of “fictional lovers” to perform their own “reality.” Re-using Caroline’s handheld mini-cameras added a forensic gaze to this intimacy, as the absence of any sound-score reinforced the sense of the lovers’ self-contained world … until at the end (of both the show and the affair) the TVs are retuned to whatever was broadcast at that time on that night.

MARK ADAMS performer, POLLY FRAME performer, SARA GIDDENS choreography/direction, SIMON JONES text/direction, CAROLINE RYE video

With: JON CARNALL artwork, EDWARD DIMSDALE photography

Performed at: Arnolfini (Bristol), Now Festival 99/Bonington Gallery (Nottingham), Wickham Theatre (Bristol), The Roadmender (Northampton), The Green Room (Manchester)