Father Figurine hit the stage at The Place last week (Jan 19) and it was quite the momentous day!
Preparing for our first performance on a major London stage, the whole team – from artistic director to lighting designer – congregated back stage to go through the motions. R&B and hip hop from Stephen’s speakers eased the tensions as we all mentally prepared for what was to come.
Calling time soon came, and after Roisin O’Brien’s ‘Some People Say’ finished to very enthusiastic cheers and claps, it finally was time to showcase something “very powerful”.
We shared ‘Father Figurine’ to an audience of around 240 whom all had some kind and helpful words about what they witnessed.
We’ve taken a week to digest the incredible feedback we’ve received, and in inclusive fashion, wanted to share these words with those that couldn’t make it!
What you had to say:
“Emotional and conveyed well.” – Audience Member
“Very Brave piece – a lot to think about. Good to see different themes explored in Resolution” – Audience Member
“Father figurine was hugely relevant to society today. On how to express and communicate.” – Audience Member
“Moved me to tears! I’m amazed at how many people you can set free with that performance.” – Audience Member
“The dad was a great dancer. I felt engaged with the topic – and the text at the start was great. Also, the fighting sequence was good. Less acting, just be real.” – Audience Member
“Really loved the piece. It was so poignantly done and not cheesy or expected. Just very very real and extremely touching. I found it extremely relatable too and I’m sure everyone else did.” – Audience Member
“The end section ‘tell me’ – I arrived where you were. I wonder if you could begin the piece with this section and end with it also? Something to think about. Leave some gaps in the text and represent it with movement.” – Audience Member
“Second half of the piece was very powerful, very impactful. The constant questioning of “tell me” was very simple but effective against the silence of the father. The body being thrown out of desperation at another body which cannot receive it… strong message.” – Audience Member
“I really enjoyed watching the piece. The spoken word was great, felt that in my soul! Loved the song and the movement too. The cleanest unison of the night. I felt the emotion in it and I was frustrated for them! I wanted more.” – Audience Member
“I was blown away at how powerful the work is. The spoken word, choreography, and performance are so strong. I really hope the opportunity gave the company the profile raise it deserves. Well done you talented lot!” – Emily Winfield, Producer, Studio Wayne McGregor
“The strongest piece [of the night] is Father Figurine, set to spoken word and hip-hop, in which father and son examine their relationships. It deals with themes and ideas not often brought centre stage and explores the vulnerability of men today through a complex movement language combining dance theatre and hip-hop.” – Dana Naomy Mills, Journalist, Morning Star
“Emotional fare is present in Body Politic’s Father Figurine, which sees Tobi Oduntan and Isaac Ouro-Gnao as a father-son pair who are coming to turns with the disappearance of the mother/wife figure in their lives. Oduntan and Ouro-Gnao are thrilling to watch when they move; Stephen Brown and Derek Mok’s choreography, grounded in the tight, rhythmically disciplined aesthetics of hip hop, nevertheless has distinct lyrical expressiveness, set to the surprisingly dreamy ‘The Breach’ by Dustin Tebbutt. Oduntan and Ouro-Gnao take one another’s weight and then flick it or shrug it off again in gorgeous symbiosis, their body language somewhere between yearning and aggression. The spoken word sections are rather less strong – as another audience member pointed out to me, they simply repeat what the dance was already expressing with perfect eloquence.” – Ka Bradley, Journalist, Exeunt Magazine
“Body Politic went for the personal – and dealt a body-blow with Father Figurine, combining Stephen Brown and Derek Mok’s choreography with Isaac Ouro-Gnao’s spoken word poetry. Ouro-Gnao was the confused son trying to understand what had torn his family apart; Tobi Oduntan was the father trying to hold off despair by not talking about what had happened to his wife. Their staccato hip-hop dance skilfully revealed raging but contained emotion, the performers’ mirror movements a heartbreaking reflection of them feeling the same things, but being unable to tell each other. Physical struggle dissolved into a closing moment of hope – but this was a profoundly visceral reflection of the damage wrought by suppressed emotions and masculine silence.” – Siobhan Murphy, Critic, The Place
“In Father Figurine the combination of spoken word and hip-hop dance reveals the fragile relationship between father and son, as a result of a trauma. Unexpressed thoughts and the inability to communicate uncover a sequence of suffered dance movements where the pain is captured and thrown out violently. It’s a struggle that leads them to a fight that ends with a hint of emotional contact. Tobi Oduntan and Isaac Ouro-Gnao manage to powerfully express the complexity of such feelings creating a very strong connection with the audience. In their gestures nothing is left to the imagination, it’s all there on stage – troubled and real.” – Francesca Marotto, Critic, The Place