The final piece I am able to see from this years Mayfest line up is titled Echo Beach and is devised and performed by Hannah Sullivan. It is predominantly a dance piece but has moments of monologue also.
Sullivan creates a mesmerising and touching picture of relationships in her life, lived through the dance moves associated with certain people in her life; Parents, Grandad, possible others. As well as those she doesn’t know but who have left her with a memory of their moves.
Echo Beach makes the most of dance and movement to tell a story and take the audience on a journey. It weaves spoken word, music, and acoustic singing in a balanced and well thought out way.
A tribute has to go out to the choice of music, 6 songs were used in total. From Green Onions by Booker T and the MG’s to Separator by Radiohead, quite a broad spectrum. I am not quite sure of the accurate term for when music is slowed down to create a sound, whatever the term is, this technique was also used to great effect. Movement became slow and I could almost see into Sullivan’s mind to that memory she was drawing on, it was truly beautiful. Yas Clarke added real value with the sound design.
The performance had clear sections marked out by both song and names written out by Sullivan on a small blackboard; Dancing Like Everyone I Know, Greatest Dancer, 1999. Most touching of all was Hannah Dancing, it was so organic and brought together so many of the elements of movement without seeming premeditated. Her eyes were closed and she really did seem “involved” in her dance.
I still have Echo Beach by Martha and The Muffins stuck in my head, and suspect I will do for a few days to come.