Marta Navaridas and Alex Deutinger: Your Majesties

Your Majesties throws into a cool blue light Barack Obama’s Nobel Lecture held at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo in 2009. The work maintains a cool minimalist ambience which allows audiences to consider and interrogate the text. A complex choreography of everyday gestures that flow between the surprising and the mundane illustrate, unpack, poke fun at and expose the text as a carefully orchestrated pantomime.

A man and a woman use movement to illustrate language – the relationships between friends and lovers, the relationship between a president and his people, between war and peace, between a wave and a lunge, are thrown under the microscope. This exposure of social etiquette throws up inconsistencies, by altering the connection between known signs in both speech and movement. Both performers’ backgrounds in translation inform this exemplary work of semiotics that is timely and poignant in the current political climate.

As Deutinger deliver’s Obama’s speech, his movements become bigger, more exaggerated and grotesque whilst his delivery of the text remains perfectly poised and clear. Navaridas performs the same set of movements mirroring him. She is placed on a plinth in the audience who have to strain to watch her and can never fully view both performers in one glance. There are a series of disconnects here that highlight a dislocation between politics and society. Navaridas’ movements are tender and flow with ease, they form a dance that compels us to watch. Deutinger mirrors these movements with an awkward style that throws into light the choreographed nature of speeches. Navaridas becomes a puppeteer who’s dynamics and expression does not fully translate into her puppet. The juxtaposition of their movement styles, of the two views offered to the audience and between Deutinger’s words and postures begin to deconstruct the speech.

The satirical content, is abundant with nuances and movements that expose, undermine, question or support a word, a sentence or a sentiment. With a multi-faceted vocabulary, Your Majesties will pique an interrogative mind and every political interest. From whistling, rolling around holding their bare feet, to gurning, particular sections are chosen to be undermined in particular ways. A series of coloured cards are held up by the silent, female referee, from yellow to red – and it is time for the blue one. A monologue satisfied, a dance complete, the words of this speech still linger as the pair exit their brief political tenancy.

Your Majesties can be heavy going at times, but it will appeal to the thinker.

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About Rebecca JS Nice

Rebecca worked as a dance teacher, lecturer and choreographer for eight years specialising in tap and jazz. She has a background in Art History and is currently training further in medieval history and contemporary choreography with a particular interest in live art. At the early stage of her dance writing career, Rebecca reviews and analyses theatre and dance performance and is working on a papers for publication.