“Provocative. Insightful. Moving.”
These were the three words used by choreographer and artistic director Kate Brennan to describe her up and coming Monash University Student Theatre production, Of Hope and Dread. The new dance piece will utilise a postmodern style, which asserts that any and all movement can be considered dance (Google ‘Steve Paxton’), in order to explore the two polar yet inextricable themes of the piece; hope and dread.
“When I was trying to work out a title for the piece I stumbled across a PhD thesis entitled ‘Existence as an Inseparable Accursed Bond of Hope and Dread’,” explains Kate. “I was intrigued by this idea that humans cannot live without both hope and dread. Where one is the other is too.”
The piece, set to hit the MUST stage from the 31st of July until the 4th of August, will feature a series of episodic dance scenes portraying different imagery. This imagery explores individual and universal experiences of hope and dread as well as the science and belief systems behind both concepts. The creation of the piece has so far relied upon a devising process shared by the dancers and Kate and largely utilises personal experiences of the themes.
“We’ve done a lot of work using our own experiences as stimulus as well as images and various writings on hope and dread,” says Kate. “By taking these writings and applying music or lighting we can come up with entirely new images and then devise around these new concepts.”
Kate has made clear that the piece will not be focused on a series of “pretty movements” or “being technically ‘correct’”. It will instead feature a combination of standard contemporary dance and more abstract ideas of dance in order to break down communication barriers and open dialogue on the topics explored.
The group has recently reached the end of the devising period, meaning Kate will soon take on a more directorial role to choreograph the devised work into a routine. As a choreographer, she hopes to create a performance that evokes a connection between audience members and the stimulus material.
‘I think the important thing to remember is that we are exploring concepts that are at the essence of being human. We as humans experience hope and dread in a way that only human beings can.’
Of Hope and Dread will be showing at the MUST Space from 31st July – 4th August.