Forgetting Natasha Heart-rending, yet life-affirming, snapshot of life
10 Aug 2011
State of Flux is the name of the company that so seamlessly weaves together the strands of dance, poetic text and digital media in Forgetting Natasha.
And flux is the state that Natasha is experiencing as, day by day, she loses herself in encroaching dementia.
For Natasha, nothing joins up any more. Let’s be as honest as this brilliantly conceived, imaginatively delivered piece and say that nothing joins up for her at all. Natasha’s sense of past and present identity is out of reach, disintegrating, taking with it all semblance of family life and relationships.
It’s an increasingly familiar territory off-stage as well as on. What makes Forgetting Natasha – directed by Heather Eddington – genuinely heart-rending, yet surprisingly life-affirming, is how the brutal effects of dementia are translated, without phoney sentimentality or hyperventilating drama into convincing words, movements and film images. These coalesce, creating vivid memory banks that subsequently spiral off-screen in bursts of monochrome graphic projection. In so many ways, we see and hear the person Natasha was from bolshy teen to adulthood, married with a cherished daughter before the frustrations of memory loss maroon everything in limbo.
The dancers, Melissa Spiccia (primarily Natasha), Josephine Darvill-Mills and Baptiste Bourgougnon, make the shifts between speech and choreography flow with an ease that, along with their synchronising with the graphics (by KMA), belies the challenging complexity of the concept. And even as the images on the front gauze emphasise Natasha’s narrowing confines, these three consummate performers ensure the humanity of her story reaches out to all of us.