Ahead of opening night, we spoke with renowned choreographer Luke Murphy about THE DUST WE RAISED, a new dance piece premiering in the Granary Theatre, presented in conjunction with Firkin Crane. Examining humanity’s leaps forward in both science and medicine, this production is a highly physical exploration into our modern world. Quiet yet furious, THE DUST WE RAISED inhabits a haunting world of sound, film, dance and theatre where three lost souls wade through the fog – with a tempest of movement and a storm of questions.
- How would you describe your work?
I think of my work as theatre which uses a physical language. I don’t create linear narratives but there should always be a clear sense of a story being told. I jump around between mediums pretty gleefully, I’ll use whatever tool I think is right for any given moment ot the story or scene so that vary from simple imagery, to film, to text, to dance- the range of movement styles and choreographic approaches also really varies. I think I make cohesive worlds but the work has a lot of diversity inside it. I think my work has a lot of energy and I like to think it’s exciting to watch. I want to make work that invites people in who don’t usually watch a lot of dance, it should connect just as clearly to people who watch film or are really into music or watch theatre. When it works you, it shouldn’t be something you just watch, it should be something you can actually feel. Like watching someone jump into water.
- As a choreographer, who are your influences? Whose work do you really like?
I’m sure I’m influenced by the work I’ve done as a performer, I think a lot of the focus on story and not being afraid to emotion comes from Punchdurnk and I’ve certainly been inspired by the endless imagination of Wim Vandekeybus at Ultima Vez. I like the abstraction of imagery in Pavel Zustiak’s work in NYC. Also David Neumann, he’s really inventive. I like how thoroughly researched and scrutinized the content is in DV8’s work, there’s a rigor there thats very inspiring. I think Troika Ranch were amazing when they were still going. Of course, people like Pina Bausch and William Fosythe. Also, a lot of filmmakers and writers- Bill Viola, Enda Walsh, Michael Frayn, Pascal Magnin, Conor McPherson, Michael Keegan Dolan…it’s a long list.
- Can you explain how you start a project? Do you have many ideas or concepts that never reach fruition?
So many, I start maybe a year before I get in the studio, six months before I start writing a proposal or looking for funding. First, it’s just me and notebook and any music I can find that I haven’t heard before to just jolt me a bit. I gather as much written material on the subject as I can and the whole cast go off to house for a week (this time thanks to the Tipperary Dance Project in Neenagh) and we spend a week just reading, talking and making notes. Getting as much information as we can, a good range of perspectives or opinions on it and then noting where the conversations lad us- then from there I just let my imagination run wild for a while with imagery and text and vague connections- the process then of building the piece is building all of that into something real and clear.
- Do you consider a play/performance/piece ever truly finished, or do they continue to evolve?
When you put something onstage for me, it’s not that it has to be 100% complete but in its essence, it’s not up for grabs any more. I think it’s easy to keep tinkering but a lot of the time the act of performing is where you learn to the most about it so I try to let it sit and settle through performance. Details might change but the statement of the work is set for sure.
- This production combines choreography with ‘provocative imagery and explosive movement’. Can you give us an idea of what an audience can expect from The Dust We Raised?
Another hard question, I think it will be beautiful at times and exciting at times and quiet at times and confusing at times and maybe it will really powerfully connect in some moments and maybe it will be interesting at moments and maybe it will feel dangerous and hopefully it will feel worthwhile.