Tomorrow, Rambert Dance Company


Rambert Dance Company
Choreography: Lucy Guerin
Music: Scanner
Design: Conor Murphy
Lighting design: Lee Curran

Dancers: Adam Park, Julia Gillespie, Stephen Wright, Brenda Lee Grech, Daniel Davidson, Stephen Quildan, Carolyn Bolton, Miguel Altunaga, Simone Damberg Würtz, Liam Francis, Edit Domoszlai, Hannah Rudd, Lucy Balfour, and Jacob O’Connell.        

Part of Murder, Mystery and a Party - A Linha Curva plus other works, May 10-14, 2016, Sadler's Wells, London, and a UK tour including Scotland and Wales.                      

Following her work with director Carrie Cracknell on the Young Vic production of Macbeth (November 2015 - January 2016), Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin returned to the play in her dance piece Tomorrow. The performance featured an original score by composer, sound and multimedia artist Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) and aimed to "[give] physical life to the psychological conflict that led Macbeth to murder." Tomorrow "[re-imagined] Shakespeare's Macbeth - mapping out the actions of the characters alongside the illusory, supernatural and psychological disturbances of the play embodied by the cast of 'witches'."           

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Selected Reviews:
Guardian review of the triple bill (3 stars): "It’s a long time since I’ve seen a dance work as maddeningly and rivetingly esoteric as Lucy Guerin’s new commission for Rambert. Guerin recently collaborated on a production of Macbeth with the director Carrie Cracknell, and Tomorrow is like a dance sequel to that play. In this new piece, the stage and the action are again divided between two worlds, the real and the demonic. But no text is spoken, and the narrative is played out in reverse order.

At first, the puzzles of the work outweigh the pleasures. It takes a while to figure out the identities of the seven dancers dressed in black who mime the action of the play on one side of the stage. It’s also a challenge to follow the plot, not only because it’s running backwards, but also because Guerin’s choreography is so deliberately flat in its emphasis and affect that the murders and portents barely stand out from the rest of the action.

By contrast, the other side of the stage is swarming with neurotic energy, as seven dancers in white represent the dark supernatural and psychological forces at work in the play. Twitching together like zombies in mad circle dances and locked into solos of juddering tension, their collective, murderous energy is articulated by the neurotic ticktock that underlies Scanner’s atmospheric score.

The gaps and dissonances between the two sides of the stage make it all but impossible to marry them into a coherent narrative. What becomes far more interesting is the choreographic chemistry at work: the neat functional movement on one side interacting with the raw physical emotion on the other. It’s like watching a simultaneous translation of the play. You almost feel as if your brain is dividing in two simply to assimilate it.

Tomorrow veers too close to a cerebral exercise to be entirely successful as dance theatre but it is cleverly programmed between works that are unambiguous in their pleasures."

Telegraph review (3 stars): "In 2015, Guerin co-directed a production of Macbeth at the Young Vic that wove a large amount of movement into the action. In Rambert’s new contribution to this year’s Shakespeare400 commemorations, she has gone one step further, creating a 25-minute piece, Tomorrow, that attempts both to tell the story of Shakespeare’s masterpiece and distil its dark essence into abstract dance.

On a mostly bare stage bisected front-to-back by a long, thin, lighting rig, it divides 14 dancers into two groups. On the left, seven black-clad performers deliver a mute, trimmed-down account of the play while, opposite them, seven more elaborately clad witches (of both sexes) attempt – like a heptet of evil Isadora Duncans – to incarnate the play’s themes. One should also mention that the “actors” mime the play not only without dancing, but – ahem – backwards.

This is, then, a bold attempt to do something new, but it’s also humourless and lacking drama, and the hoped-for alchemy simply doesn’t take place. True, there are a couple of passages, involving only Mr and Mrs M, in which the witches’ eerie, sclerotic movements do seem a reflection of sorts of the couple’s poisonous mental states – but you have to look hard for them, the “split-screen” action proves tiresome, and the dancers are underused throughout. The pulsating electronic score by talented British techno-whizz Scanner brings little to the proceedings, either.

Tinkering with or even entirely ditching a Shakespeare narrative can work (as in Christopher Wheeldon’s monumental 2007 Hamlet fantasia Elsinore), just as telling dark stories in reverse order can bitterly up the drama (vide Gaspar Noé’s almost unwatchably shocking 2002 thriller Irreversible). Here, however, it’s liable to bewilder, to leave you feeling you know the play rather less well at the end of this piece than you did before it began, and craving a straighter and more potent dance version of this terrible tale. In fact, who wouldn’t kill to see Matthew Bourne have a go?

Independent review (3 stars): "deliberately obscure... If you don’t know the play, you’re unlikely to follow the story."

Scotsman review of Edinburgh performance (4 stars): "Macbeth was the starting point for Lucy Guerin’s Tomorrow, but using the piece as a study guide is most definitely not an option. Shakespeare’s play comes out in hints and whispers, rather than loud cries – a little cryptic maybe, but in the spirit of the original, open to interpretation. And aesthetically, it’s a treat... Did I understand it all? No. Did it matter. No."

Lucy Guerin discussed the production, plus clips from rehearsals:

Composer Scanner discusses collaboration and composing the music for Tomorrow

Technical rehearsal: