Last Thursday 12th of November LSR went to the tiny Unity Theatre to watch (‘experience’ is probably a better word) a one-off performance of Blood, part of Homotopia Festival. The show didn’t really have a story, rather, the audience were inactive participants watching our character move over dynamic images of microscopic bodily fluids created by Gilbert & George, and manipulated to respond to Jean Abreu’s movement by Mirko Arcese and Luca Biada. Unity is a lovely space to have such an intimate performance, with only one floor of seats to fill a small audience, there isn’t much to distract you from the stage.
The concept of the performance was Abreu dancing over close-ups of bodily fluids, with small amounts of dialogue at times. It was performed solely by Abreu, who also choreographed the performance, but any possibility of emptiness on stage was filled with the amazing digital artwork. The show lightly touched on issues of race too, as well as giving us almost science lessons about the central nervous system and bodily fluids as part of the projections.
Abreu’s performance was graphic and intriguing, causing our cringes to develop into uneasy laughs with uncanny speed. The music and artwork definitely enhanced the performance, while the production itself did leave me with a sense of absolute confusion as to what was happening. Paul Wolinski of glitch rock band 65daysofstatic comprised a dark, stunning score which even made me jump at points. A particularly good moment was the opening, where Abreu danced to simple noises of static like it were classical music. He deserves a lot of credit for the strength of his performance, but I think the lack of story and the disjoined dialogue meant that the show’s message, which would have been a strong one, was lost. However, taking the play as a whole, I can’t pretend it didn’t make me squirm and it was definitely one to remember.