Why are you laughing?

The more we worked together in the studio, with the kabuki drop, costume and make-up, things started to evolve in a way that was humorous to us as co-creators. We wanted to capitalise on these ‘funny’ moments as they intuitively emerged during the process without loosing their authenticity. We explored how these moments could exist outside a rehearsal setting and in a performance setting – I was curious as to how the piece would translate and how we should expect the audience to respond to the work once on stage (or if we should expect anything at all). I did some reading into humour in dance works and performance and found a few nuggets in Burrows’ A Choreographer’s Handbook (2010) particularly pertinent. This one helped me understand not to look to the audience to see if they’re rolling around to determine whether they found something ‘funny’ or not:

“Some dance pieces are funny, though laughter is not necessarily proof”

Burrows (2010: 162)

I tried to think critically about the tension and release that Burrows refers to, and how this manifests within Ludo:

“The laughter of a dance performance is a contrary thing, born out of a collision between the tension that arises in the absence of language and the release that comes with anything graspable”

Burrows (2010: 162)

And I held onto where the piece was coming from and what we initially started exploring in terms of social and political themes:

“The important thing is to find balance between allowing the humour, and at the same time letting us know that underlying it there remains a serious proposition”

Adrian Hethfield in Burrows (2010: 161)

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