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DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: Näher…closer, nearer, sooner – Goethe Institut, Dublin

Choreographer/Co-Deviser: Liz Roche

Writer/Co-Deviser: Shane O’Reilly

Reviewer: Saoirse Anton

In her choreographer’s note, Liz Roche talks about Yeats’s use of his living room as a performance space, to facilitate “intimacy, privacy and immediacy” in his work. It is this closeness that makes Näher…closer, nearer, sooner as affecting and engaging as it is. A site-specific piece created to mark the opening of the Goethe Institut’s new building on Merrion Square, Näher…closer, nearer, sooner explores Yeats’s idea that when we die we begin to dream backward through our lives, searching for a lasting moment.

The audience is divided into two groups and experiences the show from two different angles. The reviewer’s path began in a classroom where the audience listens to a recording that describes Yeats’s theory, as a frame for the performance to come. This was a slow start to the piece; the long monologue felt too cerebral and detached at times. However, once the dancers of the senior company of Dublin Youth Dance appeared in an adjacent corridor, the piece began to truly breathe.

It is in the body and its interactions with others that the magic of the piece lies. Finola Cronin brings the audience through the Goethe Institut’s stunning residence as she and her fellow dancers explore the idea of dreaming backward through a moment. In an arresting portrayal of lives lived, Roche’s choreography focuses on interactions. Interactions between each of the dancers, interactions between the dancers and the audience, interactions between lives. This is particularly evident in a moment of collective stillness in the library where the dancers synchronise their breathing and simply pause together and breathe for a few moments before continuing their searching, intersecting dance. In the next segment, this comes to the fore again as Anne-Laurie Dogot and Henry Montes dance an intense duet, which Kévin Coquelard’s character repeatedly tries to join and is pushed away. This is a piece about moments between people.

Despite its sluggish start, Näher…closer, nearer, sooner animates the building it inhabits and brings to the fore the potential lives lived there, the moments that existed there, the moments that exist there.

Runs until 23 September 2018 | Image: Contributed

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