Mad, About You

Mad, About You

Choreographed by Lucía Piquero, Mad, About You is a study of madness and an argument against stereotypes of the “mad”. The only difference between the so-called “mentally ill” and the “normal” is, if any, quantitative, and not qualitative. MAY explores how madness is constructed and performed in society, and how the difference between those classified as “mentally ill” and those considered “normal” is also a construction. It is the result of an ongoing research into personal experiences, cultural stereotypes, literary works and psychological studies.

MAY is a 25 minutes piece, with music by Alberto García (and the possibility, depending on availability of musicians, of having it performed live on stage).
MAY can also be performed as a 10 minute duet.

MAY needs a black box theatre (though other possibilities would be considered) and general lighting.

Reviews of the 10min version of” Mad, About You”:

Cloud Dance Festival 26th April 2009 By Steph Elsob

Diciembre Dance Group was founded in 2008 to explore social issues through dance. Their latest offering, ‘Mad About You,’ looked at the social stereotypes of madness within our everyday society. The piece opened with a female placing a music box onto a chair, which sat at the end of a strip of white tape splitting the stage diagonally. The music box seemed to be a treasured possession, and upon it being taken away, we saw the dancer become slightly withdrawn and less excited. Dressed in white, she began to move horizontally across the stage, followed perfectly by her shadow, a dancer upstage dressed in grey. Both females moved well together, with a great use of pliés and dynamic. This piece already appeared to be a lot more polished and rehearsed than those which preceded it.

At the end of this first section, two dancers, one male and one female, entered the space dressed in white doctor’s coats and approached the first female. She was given a doctor’s coat and put it on, thereby transforming her from a ‘mad’ person into a ‘normal’ person with a simple costume change. The women then strapped the male into a straitjacket before leaving him alone on stage. The movements in the straitjacket were fairly basic; it would have been interesting to see more choreographic use of the torso, taking advantage of the dancer being restricted in ways we normally don’t see.

The next female solo dancer had great flexibility and her movement was very unique in comparison to the other dancers in the company. Another female used the white tape as a focus point, moving along it as if it were a tightrope. She interjected between the other solos and sections and every time she appeared the same piece of music played. This was a very nice touch: relating a piece of music to a character often makes it easier for an audience to relate to, as seen in ‘Peter and the Wolf’ where a certain instrument always relates to a certain animal.

The last solo in the piece identified a girl, ‘Kate’ who heard voices and conversed with the character we only heard but never saw. This dancer performed some lovely movements on her chair which she moved around the stage with her. She repeatedly stood on the chair and turned around herself, focussing up to the ceiling, as if searching for the voice she was hearing. This section was fairly short and it would be interesting to see how it would have been expanded or developed as there were some very interesting ideas.

The piece carried its message well and was very clear in exploring varying degrees of madness. The movements were well executed by the dancers but it did feel that the ideas in the piece were touched upon but not explored fully.

Cloud Dance Festival 26th April 2009 By Michelle Harris

A single, a strip of masking tape forming a diagonal line from up stage to down stage, a music box yielding a childlike eerie melody, and a collection of dancers in white sets the scene around a sanatorium in Mad About You, by Diciembre Dance Company. But there is a twist. How can we tell the mad from the sane?

Two female performers who practically resemble twins perform an identical duet. The black dress of one girl is the only indicator of her sanity as opposed to that of her partner wearing a white dress – the clichéd ‘mad’ attire. A respectable male doctor removes his obligatory white coat to also reveal an inmate’s white gown. His lean legs lead him through a Gollum-like solo, wily and meandering, and so it emerges that perhaps this bastion of society is darker and less rational than his status implies. Even the controversial theories of German psychiatrist Sigmund Freud are put under the investigative spotlight, as a ‘mad’ girl stands on the chair, and hears aloud the requisite voice in her head, trying to convince her of shameful secrets buried deep in her conscious mind.

The repetition of specific motifs, such as one dancer who periodically repeats her phrase along a taped diagonal line, reminds us that this dance is a construction, manmade, not the absolute truth. Thus, perhaps just like our own stereotypical thoughts on madness and mental health. With exceptional strong dancing, Mad about You is a thoughtful and attentive work that refreshingly refrains from being too preachy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *