Daniele Constance Asks Us to 'Explain Normal'
It can be difficult to define what is ‘normal’ without first exiling some ideas or behaviours as “other”. One individual’s normal may be someone else’s abnormal. Daniele Constance has taken on the task of unpacking this concept in her latest dance theatre work, Explain Normal.
Together with Aha Ensemble, a group of performers who identify with disability, and Phluxus2 Dance Collective, Daniele Constance is exploring the dichotomy of normalcy and ‘otherness’ through the movement and storytelling.
“It felt as much of a personal exploration as it was an artistic one,” says Daniele. As director, she wants Explain Normal to be a story about the construct of normalcy that is informed by the personal experiences of the performers. Her aim in marrying Aha Ensemble’s work with Phluxus2 Dance Collective is to bring their two worlds closer together and to make the space “more shared and integrated”.
The use of improvisation has been integral to the show’s creative development. Many of the rehearsal intensives have included experimental work based around those personal experiences and storytelling.
One thing Daniele enjoys most about directing is being able to be “inside the work and outside the work” simultaneously; a “dual perspective” as she calls it. Explain Normal has been particularly interesting for her to direct as there is such a “mixing pot of people and ideas and thought processes” and she was “constantly challenged to think differently”.
It has been quite a transformative journey for both Daniele and the artists themselves. They have all been “confronted and challenged in different ways” in terms of how they perceive themselves and others. “What is normal for each person is intriguing and sometimes [they] found through the show that it’s easier to define what isn’t normal”.
In giving these diversely abled performers a more mainstream platform, Daniele would like to see a more “inclusive and integrated space” for all. It is her hope that Explain Normal encourages audiences to “widen their worldview” and “be more receptive to different kinds of perspectives” because after all, is there even truly such thing as ‘normal’?
What: Explain Normal
When: October 17 to October 26
Where: Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, 109 Edward Street, Brisbane
Cost: Starts from $25
For more information or to book tickets visit the website.
Images: Jorge Serra