The Village‘s action focuses on five strangers who, although unknown to one another, all grew up in the same place: the titular village. The performance is set on a hill overlooking the settlement, years after each of them has left. From the top of that hill, they survey their homeplace and tell their stories, which are motivated by two, key devices: a series of explosive and hypnotic dance routines set to a blend of traditional, contemporary and electronic music; and powerful confessional monologues. Through these devices, the audience is confronted by a dissolving sense of reality surrounding both the storytellers and the village.
The Village is a meditation on Irish culture more generally. Within that culture, villages are places that host both literal and metaphorical forms of drama in national life. For at least a century, villages have provided the setting for seemingly immutable artistic expressions of national identity, such as the central role of fields for Cathleen Ní Houlihan and the Bull McCabe. However, in recent times, our national conversations about villages have focused on decline; places left behind by a modernising, urbanising and diversifying Ireland. As a result, villages – to a greater extent than towns or cities – occupy a liminal space in Irish culture, both immutable and soluble depending on an observer’s perspective. This quality makes them fertile ground for expressing stories about the loss and remaking of identity, which is the driving theme of both The Village and Ériu as a company.More information
Ériu Dance Company was founded as an avant-garde dance company in 2010, to explore and express a particular and peculiar moment in Irish culture and society. Since the early 1990s, Ireland has been typified by the dissolution of a hegemonic form of identity: one that was invariably white, bourgeois, Catholic and heterosexual. Through seismic economic, cultural, demographic and constitutional changes since, Irish people have been experiencing multiple dissolutions and re-makings of ‘the self’. Through various works – Noċtú, Rite of Spring, Lïnger, Aon, Salómae, Chased and Walls Talk – Ériu has expressed these currents through dance, and now looks to do so again through a brave new production: The Village.
In his capacity as artist director and choreographer of dance company Ériu, Breandán de Gallai explores the poetic potential of the Irish dance form and presents work that is explorative and innovative in a contemporary context. Breandán and Ériu have performed at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Cork Midsummer and Earagail Arts Festivals, the International Festival of Arts ‘Diaghilev. P.S.’ in St Petersburg, Project Arts Dublin, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Jack Crystal Theater New York, Théatro Sofia Bulgaria, and in Aix-en-Provence France, and the Galway International Arts Festival at An Taibhdhearc – Ireland’s National Irish Language Theatre.