Entry starts with a walk through a dark tunnel, which is lit with cold blue light strips, leading into a concrete basement. The stage is completely black, as the audience sits down and the show begins a large spotlight frantically scans the stage and audience it could be mistaken for police lights, searching. When the light hits the black back wall as black cladded figures take to the stage one dancer climbs the stairs to reach the light, and starts trying to grab the light as it moves on the wall, reaching.
The other dancers fill the stage dance movement is territorial, there is a sense of urgency, an uncomfortable urgency. The bright light in the beginning gives you that feeling, they stop and stare into the audience shiny black faces stare which have been painted black with what looks like tar, clad in black and dark coloured street wear they form a little “gang” on stage. Grime or rhythm is fired through a mike as the dancers move, gyrate and explode in the stage..
In the background there is music playing via speakers, and semi lighting focuses on the bare back of one of the dancers moving with his back to the audience. A big explosion of light accompanied with a clang of sound, and the company launch into a well choreographed dance routine the show has began.
“Traplord throughout is performed in semi-darkness, with lights used to spotlight pieces of performance and then darkness both to dramatic effect. The dancers use props that include knives and use their hands to create fictional guns.
Ivan Michael Blackstock’s Traplord puts male vulnerability and violence centre stage with a very this very physical piece dance theatre , the characters feign toughness or the stereotype of. A charged and raw dance piece that deals with racial stereotyping and profiling of young black men: for some reason the title of a short film I just watched by Jason Osborne comes to mind Superheroes Wear Hoodies, they do and we need to believe that. …. and with productions like Traplord giving young black men a voice we are moving in the right direction…
Ivan Michael Blackstock’s Traplord will run at 180 Studios until – April 16 2022 in a co-production with Sadler’s Wells, The Factory, and ALTRUVIOLET. Tickets Sadler’s Wells and 180 The Strand.
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