BEST REGARDS, Nigel Charnock
you were too much.
Not just plain funny but, you know:
silly funny, witty funny,
biting funny, cutting funny, ferocious funny,
despondent funny, frightening funny.
And physical too.
Yes too physical by half.
Too body, body.
Too bodily body to be theatre
and too entertaining to be serious.
Wendy Houstoun, Letter to Nigel Charnock
With these words, Wendy Houston would say goodbye to his friend and colleague Nigel Charnock, a few days after he died, in 2012. Nigel had been one of the cofounders of DV8 Physical Theater in the ‘80s; he had then left and followed his own research, creating and performing a formidable series of solos. For whom had met him, he was exactly as Wendy wrote, “too much”. With his performances, hyperkinetic explosions in which singing, dancing, screaming, fiction and performance were intertwined on top of an abyssal emptiness, he broadened the borders of “contemporary dance” and seemed to perfectly embody the possibility of art that David Foster Wallace defined as “failed entertainment”. Everything in him was energy, desire, will. Yet, as he desperately repeats in his solo One Dixon Road, «there’s nothing else, it’s nothing, nothing»*.
I met and worked with Nigel in 2010. This encounter marked a clear line in my way of thinking about performance. After him, the possibility of dancing is for me the possibility that everything on stage can happen, simultaneously. BEST REGARDS is not a tribute but for sure a salutation. It’s my way of saying “Dear N, I wanted to be too much too”. It’s voracious solo, a letter addressed to someone that will never reply. A work about rage, that specific one of first love: love that existed before dance became a job. Before projects, before meaningfulness, before unity. Love of being on stage, sweaty and livid, singing and dancing. An act of desperate nostalgia – not for the world as it was, but for the world as it appeared to me.
* rubbish, shit, there is no now… all there is is
this, there’s nothing else, it’s nothing, and what
does this mean nothing… It’s absolutely, totally,
beautifully, divinely, amazingly meaningless,
right, I’m glad we got that sorted now
by and with Marco D’Agostin
sound, graphics LSKA
texts Chiara Bersani, Marco D’Agostin, Azzurra D’Agostino, Wendy Houstoun
lights Giulia Pastore
set construction Andrea Sanson
scientific advice The Nigel Charnok Archive, Roberto Casarotto
dramaturgical advice Chiara Bersani, Claudio Cirri, Wendy Houstoun, Tabea Martin, Alessandro Sciarroni
technical advice Eleonora Diana, Luca Poncetta, Paola Villani
movement coach Marta Ciappina
technical direction Paolo Tizianel
translation Johanna Bishop, Damien Modolo
care, promotion Damien Modolo
organization Eleonora Cavallo
administration Federica Giuliano
coproduction Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis, KLAP Maison pour la danse à Marseille, CCN2-Centre chorégraphique national de Grenob
with the support of Centrale Fies, CSC/Centro per la Scena Contemporanea (Bassano del Grappa), inTeatro, ERT, the WorkRoom (Fattoria Vittadini), Teatro Comunale di Vicenza