One of Britain’s leading contemporary dance company is currently presenting its first full length narrative dance work in almost 40 years in Edinburgh.
Choreographed by two-time Olivier Award-winner Kim Brandstrup in collaboration with filmmakers the Quay Brothers, Life is a Dream is a two-act, modern reimagining of the 17th-century play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
The production is set in a run-down rehearsal room, where a director is drifting off to sleep. As images of the day’s rehearsals run through his mind, the play is revisited, recast and replayed, and fantastic images of worlds far beyond his room appear.
Life is a Dream features sets and projections by legendary filmmakers the Quay Brothers, who will transform the space into a dreamlike world where illusion and reality collide. A symphony orchestra adds to the other-worldly atmosphere, with the rich, harmonious music of Witold Lutosławski, for this tale of revenge and reconciliation.
Life is A Dream is commissioned by Bergen International Festival and is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute / Polska Music, Cockayne Grants for the Arts – a donor-advised fund of The London Community Foundation, and Arts Council England.
Based on the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, the music by Lutosławski featured in Life is a Dream includes the folk-inspired Dance Preludes, Musique Funèbre written in memory of Bartok, and Chain II, a thrilling violin concerto.
Act two is set to Lutosławski’s 4th Symphony, a piece often described as a summation of his life’s work. Life is a Dream also features a recording of Nie oczekuję dziś nikogo one of the 1950s pop songs by Derwid, Lutosławski’s pseudonym and post-war alter ego.
Kim Brandstrup is a two-time Olivier Award-winning choreographer. His most recent work for Rambert, Transfigured Night (2015), won the 2016 Critic’s Circle National Dance Award for Best Modern Choreography. He has worked extensively with the Royal Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet, and in 2015 created Jeux, his debut work for New York City Ballet.
Performed by the Rambert Orchestra, performances will take place at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, until Saturday, 24 November.
There is a free pre-show talk today, Friday 23 November, at 6.30pm. This is free but ticketed. A sign language-interpreted show also takes place today, at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £16.50-£30 from www.capitaltheatres.com.