WRoNGHEADED

premiere Project Arts Centre
As part of Dublin Fringe Festival
DATES 11-16 September 2016
Photo credit Maria Falconer

★★★★

Roches’ gift is to sense how dance of its essence allows the body speak for itself, articulate, nuanced and powerful.”

SEONA MaC REAMOINN, THE IRISH TIMES, May 2018

__________

Wrongheaded merges film, poetry and movement to confront the realities of women's rights and freedom of choice in Ireland. It was created in response to the on-going debate to abolish the Irish constitutional ban on abortion; a ban which was eventually overthrown by referendum in May 2018. While standing as a testament to a momentous time of change in Ireland, WRoNGHEADED also delves deep into the institutional repression that mediates much of our society's behaviour to this day. Driven by Elaine Feeney's spoken word poetry and electrifying performances from the dancers, the piece is a jolt to the system.

Alongside the fearless poetry of Elaine Feeney, the piece features the exquisite work of film director Mary Wycherley, composer Ray Harman and lighting designer Stephen Dodd with electrifying performances by dancers Sarah Cerneaux, Justine Cooper, Jack Webb and Kevin Coquelard.

★★★★

“…you will certainly be stimulated, challenged, and provoked to deeper engagement by what is an undeniably powerful production by a truly remarkable artist.” 

CHRIS O’ROURKE, THE ARTS REVIEW, May 2018


 

This extended version of the original 2016 production, played to full houses and critical acclaim at the 2018 Dublin Dance Festival. Featuring a new male dance duet performed by Kévin Coquelard and Jack Webb, which mirrors the choreography of the two superb female dancers Sarah Cerneaux and Justine Cooper.

Together with Elaine Feeney’s spoken words this creative ensemble staged a new extended interwoven tapestry to the exquisite work of filmmaker Mary Wycherley, projected in a new format for this show; alongside new music from composer Ray Harman (from the band Something Happens); and superb stage illuminations by lighting designer Stephen Dodd.

All these elements gathered together to create an intense forum for emotion and physicality but ultimately, Wrongheaded is a refuge from the necessary but ongoing debate; and a space to consider these issues from a new perspective.

★★★★

[Roche’s] choreography is sharp and expressive, thrashing us with the narrative and revealing the savage beauty at its heart”…… “the fierce and feisty spoken words of Galway poet Elaine Feeney; a fire-cracker delivery of vicious text that has emerged from the so many dark, heart breaking and sickening examples of women subjugated through their bodies.”

MIKE SMITH, ARTS SCENE WALES

Wrongheaded Phogo by Ewa Figaszewska
Photo by Ewa Figaszewska

Performances

PROJECT ARTS CENTRE

11 – 16 SEPTEMBER 2016

DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL 

CHAPTER ARTS

8 NOVEMBER 2017

CARDIFF DANCE FESTIVAL

PROJECT ARTS CENTRE

16 – 17 MAY 2018

DUBLIN DANCE FESTIVAL

PAVILLION THEATRE DUN LAOGHAIRE

22 MAY 2018

IRISH TOUR

HAWK’S WELL THEATRE SLIGO

24 MAY 2018

IRISH TOUR

DANCE BASE

3 – 19 AUGUST 2018

EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL

CAPSTONE THEATRE

6 NOVEMBER 2018

LEAP DANCE FESTIVAL

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Choreography Liz Roche  

Dancers: Sarah Cerneaux, Justine Cooper, Kévin Coquelard, Jack Webb and Liv O’Donoghue (replacing Justine Cooper at Pavilion Theatre & Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo, 2018)

Poetry by Elaine Feeney

Film by Mary Wycherley

Music Composition by Ray Harman

Lighting Design by Stephen Dodd

Voiceover: Elaine Feeney & Andrew Bennett

Stage Manager: Lisa Krugel

Production Manager: Stephen Dodd

Photos: Ewa Figaszewska / Maria Falconer

Director of Photography: Eleanor Bowman

Film Producer: Zlata Filipovic

Wrongheaded Liz Roche Company Photo Maria Falconer
Wrongheaded Liz Roche Company Photo Maria Falconer 17

Archive

Dancer Justine Cooper
on WRoNGHEADED
Creative Process

WRoNGHEADED 2016: the beginning of the creation process for Wrongheaded.

I remember Liz and I travelled to Limerick to meet with poet Elaine Feeney and film maker Mary Wycherley. We sat around a huge table with tea in hand talking and laying the bones of thoughts on the table around what the deeper nature of Wrongheaded might be. Savita Halappanavar, abortion rights, the pain body, ancestors, the right to choice, stories from our own archives or of people we knew or had heard about flowed forth. From this first conversation Elaine Feeney went away and wrote a poem that Liz then brought into the studio with myself and fellow dancer Ailish Maher. The poem became the music, script, flint and flame for the initial physical explorations and surged forth a rhythm and feeling tone that knew itself without question.

One of the first improvisations that Liz asked Ailish and I to interpret was how would the body move if, instead of contracting away from violence or force coming towards it, the body opened and presented its most vulnerable parts forward as a reverse defence of sorts. This created a whole new language in the body and became a very big energy signature woven through the physical architecture of the piece. 

The next stage of development brought Sarah Cerneaux into the fold and Liz crafted a duet between Sarah and I set to the spoken word poem written and read by Elaine Feeney. There was such a ferocity, anger, exhaustion and unrelenting fight to the rhythm and spit of the poem that inside it felt like it was the body’s inner monologue expressing and fighting its way out. Physically, mentally and emotionally it was a true challenge as the pathways of movement were incredibly cryptic and the stamina and endurance required was huge from beginning to end.

I learnt so much about partnership because this was my first time dancing a full piece within a duet context. The endeavour to find oneness when there are two of ye and how to find the place of unity was a deep gift of an experience. 

The onwards journey led to Mary Wycherley’s film, made in response to the poem and physical embodiment. Mary shot one half of the film in the Peacock Theatre with Sarah and I dancing the physical score and improvising with glass containers full of water and ice.

The second half of the film was shot in a cave just beyond a beach. The cave for me represented a place of deep grief and stored loss that was buried in the dark and unlit places of the body. I felt the generations that had come before me and the blood line of women that never had an opportunity to express what had to be hidden, and it felt very healing to honour the body by giving it voice and, through the dimension of film, a new intimacy.

At the time of its first performance as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2016, Ireland was in the midst of The Amend the 8th protests and there was revolution rising to overturn the constitutional ban on abortion. The wave of collective energy gave an urgency to the intention and flint of the piece and I remember feeling like I was engaged in something that had a forcefield beyond the sum of its parts and that was deeply important. It felt like a cross between a physical purging, an ancient rebel yell and a womb prayer all at the same time. For the Dublin Dance Festival in 2018 Liz extended the piece to include the physical voice of a male duet danced by Jack Webb and Kévin Coquelard. The male duet embodied the same choreography as Sarah and I, and would be performed dove tailed one after the other. Felt like the second half of a circle was created and a perspective from both viewpoints given voice through the body.

A three-week run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018 came forth next and at this stage The Amend the 8th had been successful and the constitutional ban on abortion had been overthrown in Ireland. It was fascinating to see how this reflected also in a shift of energy for the piece, a softening happened organically as it remained connected to the present moment and the collective energy. Physically, mentally and emotionally the discipline and demand of performing such an intense piece every day for 3 weeks was a huge challenge but the learning and intimacy of meeting the piece daily brought so many new layers of fortitude and listening. Feel forever grateful for the gift of being part of this brave work, it was a pilgrimage and one I grew from deeply and feel honoured to have brought through my body, mind and heart.

We are proud of our partners.

Liz Roche Company is strategically funded by the Arts Council