Story, story, die, a new choreography by Alan Lucien Øyen for his company winter guests, looks at the relationship between lies and love, and how we continually re-arrange everyday life into a desirable narrative, in doing so lying about ourselves and creating new realities, these days on social media as well as in person.
The title is taken from a game that stimulates narrative skills, teamwork and listening, but that’s also cruel and doesn’t accept mistakes. If you are not fast or cool enough, you are out or ‘dead’. Story, story, die perfectly embodies the game but it goes way further. It runs around identities and their incongruous sides, the ‘how we are’ and ‘how we act’, the reality and the fiction, the craving needs and desires that transform into superficial and ephemeral pastimes, but most of all about the death of illusions and the tragic realisation of that loss.
A door on stage opens and closes, creating two dimensions through which the dancers narrate different stories. The two realms can be seen as the real and the fictional, in a sense, the alive and dead. Spasms, launches, jumps, suspensions, extended and scattered movements are all part of the narrative. Text constantly changes from being abstract, poetic, sensual, descriptive, reassuring and childish, to pathetic, severe, cruel, dismissive, disparaging.
The work is like a puzzle constructed from the personal stories of the dancers interwoven and then hyperbolised and transformed by Øyen. It connects to the constant and obsessive need to be liked and approved that so many feel today. Simultaneously, all that struggle explodes in visceral duets and solos. Reflecting on the fine line between fiction and reality, questions rise up. How to decode the self-truth? Don’t we all have different facets? Where is the boundary between being and acting? And especially in the staged world we live in, are we not all actors of our personal movies?
Story, story, die has a remarkable richness and beauty that comes from an intense examination of contemporary sociological dynamics and an attentive listening to the characteristics of every single performer, as much as from the superlative staging of the magnetic dancers. All of them bring their own remarkable individual talents. All of them are captivating and extraordinary. Øyen’s poignant piece delves into trademarks of the times we live in. The result is astounding and resonating.