Sunday Reads #9: Gameshow – part one (Anthony)

14 June 2020

In this week’s Sunday Read, our Co-Artistic Director, Anthony, looks back and reflects on our production Gameshow made in 2011. Exploring desire, seduction and manipulation, the production mixed dance, spoken word and film, and pushed Chameleon creatively at that time.

Here, Anthony talks about the risk and the courage involved in the making of the show, and how it gave him the personal OK to follow his nose and find his own way in the creation of dance theatre.

“I’d forgotten just how funny Gameshow was! It’s nice to be able to watch it again after so long and see it with fresh eyes, it’s hilarious!

It also strikes me just how experimental it is.

Its perhaps the closest thing to a play we’ve created, rather than a traditional dance show. Theatre leans heavily in this work.

Risk in creation is something that is encouraged but artists sometimes have a nervousness around – especially if they’ve made something with a big impact previously.

We took a lot of risk in the creation of this show, and absolutely found new formats.  There was nothing like that at the time, and I’ve still not come across anything like it – spoof adverts, ‘on location’ tasks, human conveyor belts, all sorts!

I think we really pushed the boundaries of what a dance show can be and did it successfully.

A few things were important at the time. Rites, our breakthrough creation was a great success. I guess it’s like recording artists who strain over a sophomore album, not producing the same thing, but something new, fresh and just as exciting and innovative.

I took on a big challenge with the creation to see how much scripting could be done ahead of being in the studio, storyboarding and writing endlessly. A good lesson for me was gifted through this, that every process can and should be completely different.

It’s something that gave me the courage to approach every new creation by not leaning on anything that’s come before, and to dream up wholly new processes each time to achieve what it is I want to say.  It also gave me the personal OK to allow myself to follow my nose, and not be concerned by what or how others do what they do – to find my own way.

For Chameleon, it was a signal that one show would not be the same as the next – a challenge for repeat audiences who prefer the security of seeing something familiar. It keeps alignment with what the name Chameleon suggests – transformation and the ability to change. For us it was an aspiration from the beginning to work with whatever language, mode of representation, quality or aesthetic best represented the idea. This is something we remain conscious of in the search for something new and unseen, for our growth as makers and for the development of the form more broadly.

I can’t write about this production without mentioning Andrew Loretto, and his input into this creation as Dramaturg. This was the beginning of a creative relationship that remains today, almost 10 years later.

I also salute Dieb13, the composer/sound designer for the show who I met when living in Austria working with Willi Dorner. How he made the soundtrack (as well as his own software to do so) was astounding to observe and feed into. The detail with which every sound was created, sampled or warped was just sublime, he’s a true innovator.

Did it achieve what we wanted it to? People still remind me of it from time to time, or accidentally discover it and let me know how funny they think it is. It reads, is very entertaining, has still relevant underlying commentary and stands by itself as something pretty unique….so yes, I’d say it did.”

Anthony Missen, June 2020

Watch Gameshow below.

Join us next Sunday for Gameshow, part 2, when we look back at the production with Kevin.

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