Four female dancers share the stage with four, large, marble sculptures in a spectacular interaction between the physical form, movement and sound in Stones and Bones. This devised piece by RootlessRoot performance company, which forms part of this year’s Malta International Arts Festival programming, is set to create a 360-degree sensorial impact within the audience thanks to the creative stage design, which will elicit a fusion of aesthetics and raw sound.
For this piece, RootlessRoot has worked together with English sculptor Peter Randall-Page. Described as a performance about the transience of human existence, the work focuses on four female performers who face off on stage against eternity’s material, marble, creating a poem about the human struggle with time and space, with gravity and decay. The performers – dancing to an original score by Vassilis Mantzoukis – carve out a poem about the fragile nature of human existence and the need to leave our mark on the world.
The piece, the artists say, is inspired by the eponymous stones and bones, where “we see the long history of earth and life, the history of our own struggle for life”. While the idea of choreographers working with a sculptor is very novel, and might be considered challenging by some, the artists explain that they could work with anyone.
“RootlessRoot is a vehicle, a mobile structure that allows us to realise projects that we are interested in. It creates a loose frame within which we are able to invite people of different disciplines to participate and investigate areas of our interest. In six years of our existence we were very lucky to meet and connect to many relevant people of diverse interests and ideas,” they say.
Thus, RootlessRoot builds up a space in which different perspectives, ideas and concepts can meet and crash together to reshape and re-evaluate experiences, attitudes, and knowledge.
“The only challenge we faced for Stones and Bones was the physical distance between us and artist Peter Randall-Page, which meant we could not meet so often to research. Also we have created this show during the first lockdown so it was impossible to travel and experiment with the materials,” they explain.
The initial idea started some years ago when RootlessRoot decided to break down the pillars of European Culture. Pitting the performers against marble on stage represents carving out a poem on the fragile nature of human existence and the eternal nature of rock.
“We have been working with Peter, who’s a master of the form, to drill down into the mysteries of this unique natural material, which presents major difficulties in its use on stage. Inspired by Pythagorean geometric forms of cosmic creation, our performers explore the unequal dynamics that exist between the ephemeral human body and the inexhaustible power of marble,” they conclude.
RootlessRoot will perform Stones and Bones on June 25 at 9pm at the Main Stage in Valletta Ditch, Valletta. Book your tickets now directly from www.festivals.mt/miaf.