Arts Dance with Me Preview Theatre

Preview: Revisor by Kidd Pivot (Esplanade’s da:ns focus 2023)

Photo Credit: Michael Slobodian

Making its Asian premiere, get ready as Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay welcomes Kidd Pivot’s Revisor to the stage as part of this weekend’s da:ns focus programme. Co-created by award-winning artists Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young, Revisor is a hybrid work of dance-theatre that reinterpret Nikolai Gogol’s play The Government Inspector.

Named best new dance production by the Olivier Awards in 2022, watch as Kidd Pivot brings Gogol’s characters to life onstage in physically-demanding, narratively-driven choreography that satirises the absurdity of power and bureaucracy. The exceptional dancers from Kidd Pivot embody the recorded dialogue of some of Canada’s finest actors, as the work explores conflict, comedy and corruption in the compelling relationship between language and the body.

Photo Credit: Four Eyes

“Crystal (Pite) and I became interested in the theatrical genre of Farce, and how this heightened brand of comedy utilizes extreme physicality, caricature, and cruelty, and we wondered if we could record dialogue from a full length farce to create our next dance piece,” says Jonathon, on why they created Revisor. “I had been interested in adapting The Government Inspector for some time, and realised that by changing the original Russian title from “Revizor” (“Government Inspector”) to the English word “ Revisor” (“a low-ranking civil servant who makes incremental changes to official texts), it could suggest the theme of revision. It opens up questions about the nature of change within a corrupt regime: can true change be made gradually from within? Perhaps, but there are always forces at work outside the regime that are moving toward a more sudden and radical change.”

“I was also interested in the figure of the Imposter, and the act of infiltration. I was intrigued by the situation of mistaken identity – where an outsider or “nobody” has been mistaken for an insider who’s a “somebody”,” adds Jonathon. “And the anxiety of those in power, believing that a high-ranking inspector has come in disguise to expose them as corrupt and cruel. The heightened, farcical style. The abrupt ending – in Gogol’s play the officials are frozen in a grotesque tableaux for an exact period of time as they await their fate.”

Photo Credit: Four Eyes

Revisor is presented as part of the Esplanade’s da:ns focus – Body Language, a weekend of programmes that examines the interplay between dance, the body, text and speech. Like other dance pieces crafted by Jonathon and Crystal, Revisor was written with rhythm in mind. The unique presentation style of Revisor, where the performers are not actually speaking their lines, also creates the effect of their voices being ‘left behind’, as if the words are lying in wait for the people who will physically inhabit them. While language confines for a dancer, this somewhat different style instead turns the words and voices into empty structures, at least until they are animated by the performers, giving the physical performer choice and freedom to interpret the language through their bodies.

In that same vein of thinking, Jonathon and Crystal also took artistic liberties with the performance, choosing not to restrict themselves to simply adding movement to the play, but changing the structure itself – with a breakdown in the second half. “In Gogol’s play, at the end of Act 4, the protagonist meets with an almost endless line of poor, disenfranchised people; desperate people, the victims of the corrupt and incompetent regime,” says Jonathon. “So he’s presented with hard evidence of what’s actually going on here, despite the attempt to hide it, despite the lies he’s been fed by the officials.  The underbelly of officialdom has been exposed and unlike the farcical nature that forms most of the play, a darker reality has come to the surface.”

Photo Credit: Michael Slobodian

“And when reading Gogol’s play, by the time I got there, I was wondering if the real Inspector had shown up yet. Was the rumour true that an inspector is coming in disguise? If so, they might be here already. We decided our Inspector would be there from the start, and we chose to imbed her within the play itself disguised as its Narrator. And we asked ourselves, what evidence will she uncover? What have we overlooked or suppressed or turned a blind eye to? This whole middle section is her inspection: an internal inspection of the play itself.”

What else does Revisor have in store for audiences? Detailed costumes, a deliciously dark storyline, tight choreography and skilled dancers performing them, and a slick style and interpretation that keeps you questioning the art of dance and body language long after the performance. Watch it for yourself, as Revisor makes its Asian premiere at the Esplanade this weekend.

Revisor runs from 5th to 6th May 2023 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets available here

da:ns focus events run from 14th to 16th Apr 2023, 5th to 7th May 2023, 13th to 15th Oct 2023, 1st to 3rd Dec 2023 and Mar 2024. More information available here

0 comments on “Preview: Revisor by Kidd Pivot (Esplanade’s da:ns focus 2023)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: