Hover-boards, ladders, ropes, lifts, jumps, tricks, and stunts! A phenomenal performance created by Attack Theatre, Laws of Attraction is an exploration into how humans incorporate concepts of physics into the movement of our bodies and the ways in which we commonly use physical metaphors to describe relationships. I was in awe of the dancers and the choreography/direction throughout the whole duration of the show. Laws of Attraction was easily one of the most innovative, athletic, and brilliant shows that I have ever witnessed. I was so taken with what I saw on stage, that I couldn’t help but wonder how they managed to gather all of these ideas and put them together. What was the inspiration?
While working with a group of third-graders at Winchester-Thurston School, the artists began learning about specific physical concepts. While using their bodies to teach the kids about the support systems and structures of bridges, members of Attack Theatre were inspired to experiment more with how they can exemplify physics through movement. This was what really sparked the creation of the show. Although, interestingly enough, when I spoke to co-founder and artistic director, Michele de la Reza, she told me that there have been many instances in the past when audience members involved in physical sciences have commented about the correlation between physics and the style of choreography/ movement— “Science in motion.” As the company moved forward with the inspiration, they began to connect scientific concepts to the way we talk about relationships amongst each other- prompting the very clever title, Laws of Attraction. Specifically, we tend to use language descriptive of balance and polarity when referring to how we relate to one another. For example, “opposites attract”, “we had a lot of ups and downs”, “why does the world revolve around you?”, “That relationship is off balance.” So, these are a ton of awesome ideas swirling around, but how did they put it all together into one cohesive performance?
The voice of a writer telling the story of a rocky relationship between two women created an overlaying storyline to keep in mind when interpreting what we were seeing. Each number demonstrated a different scientific concept or idea. This made it possible for audience members to draw various metaphoric connections in their minds depending on what was happening on stage. The very beginning of the show caught me right away. A tall, dimly lit figure comes whoosing in on a hover-board, stopping right at the edge of the stage. His control of that thing was impressive to me to say the least, seeing as the one and only time I stepped foot on one of those, I inadvertently spun around in a circle at 20 mph and promptly fell right off. Later in the show, I got to see all of the dancers using hover-boards, equally as awe-struck with their incredibly precise timing and maneuvering of the futuristic gadget.
Post-performance, Michele de la Reza pointed out to me that the real magic behind the hover-board idea was that the dancers were dancing without their feet. This is a really, really wild and amazing concept if you think about it in that way. The energy and momentum these dancers kept without even the help of their feet on the ground amazed me. But hover-boards were not the only prop they used and dance was not the only artistic expression I saw that night. The artists also pulled various stunts with ladders (sometimes involving throwing the ladder…), ropes, a level, a ball, and boxes. They accomplished things that I didn’t even think were possible (seriously). De la Reza told me that as they were in the process of creating the show, they really aimed to push the limits of what they thought was possible. And they truly did.
There was another very vital part to the show and that was the like music, created by Ian Green. Using various instruments simultaneously, as well as his voice, Green created an intricate soundtrack to accompany an intricate weaving of ideas. Not only that, but the show also incorporated Green’s live painting during one of the numbers. De la Reza told me that it’s important to her and to the other artists to “push the expectations of artists.” By this, she means that the dancers will not only dance, but they will play music, act, and explore other artistic expression on stage and off. And visa versa, the musician is not solely “the musician”—he can incorporate visual art, acting, and movement as well. Artists don’t have to stick to just one type of art. I would also like to note that all of the artists moved with such strength, grace, and energy in every moment of the show—not just the wild stunts, and that includes Green, the musician. I also really loved the clear energetic connection the dancers had with each other—how in touch they were with one another and with themselves.
In exploring proximity and timing, the company showed us how important it is to work together in order to keep each other going in this world. Laws of Attraction wove science, art, and human relationships all together into one performance. Although I feel this experience was beyond a performance. It was more of a life lesson to me because, really, these are some of the most important aspects of being a human being. Attack Theatre so brilliantly brought to life the correlation between science, art, and the human condition. Science teaches us about how we function, how we can exist. All art forms are incredible ways to express our humanity—to help us grow as individuals and in togetherness. And without each other for support, where would we be?
Laws of Attraction runs through April 30th, tickets and more information can be found here. Special thanks to Attack Theatre for complimentary press tickets.
Photo credit: Craig Thompson Photography