Catch & Release is the working title of a new work by Whim W’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers, to premiere in the January 20-28, 2017 SENSATION program at The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. When I talked to him about the projected piece in early September he was doing research for it, which meant, among other things, assembling a synopsis/collage to clarify its themes and trajectory, the core of his intentions.
Olivier gathered his ideas together in the form of a 2-page file “that I shared with my collaborators”: Composer Brian Lawlor; Costumer Christine Joly de Lotbiniere; and Lighting Designer Michael Mazzola. In the shared file (see above and further on in this post), “The red writing was guidelines for Brian to compose music. And imagery and stuff was for dancers, costume designers, etc…to understand my direction.” A sort of abstract that amalgamated notions, emotions and images, the file did not specify particular movements, combinations of dancers for the various roles or sections, or information about what would be set as solos, duets, trios and group dances. Ideas about the dance itself were still percolating and composting in other parts of Olivier’s mind. “There is a lot more research stuff that I don’t share.”
On the basis of all this preparation, when the dancers got into the studio with Olivier, there was a rich compost of ideas in his mind out of which the dancing would grow. At the first rehearsal. he told the dancers about his researches, the themes he had in mind, and some ideas about costumes and lighting.
The inspiration for the costumes is Kintsugi: “The Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”