Current work: The City Will Crumble

- a new dance theatre piece with original music, inspired by Film Noir -

Nyctolopic is currently performing its new production The City Will Crumble, a vision of the psychological and social dislocation of the mega-city, set to original music by David Holyoake. The piece will be performed at Rich Mix in East London on 22 February 2013. Click here for tickets.

Millions of people walk the streets of the dark city. Sometimes they notice one another; most of the time they pass each other by, driven on by the unrelenting rhythm of the city itself. How can one woman believe that her individual story matters, when the city makes everyone interchangeable, substitutable, and disposable?

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More about the project

The City Will Crumble is a full-length dance-theatre piece that reincarnates a previous aesthetic reaction to a great socio-economic shock: film noir as a reflection of the Great Depression and its aftermath. We live in times with strong parallels to that earlier era - most obviously a devastating economic crash. There is more: then and now, breathtaking technological changes seem to offer great opportunities but at the same wears down honest human relations. Then and now, seeming prosperity masks continuing relations of power and the sharpening vulnerability of those at the bottom. Then and now, faith in progress gives way to powerlessness in the face of a social system whose efficiency depends on making each individual replaceable, insignificant, and, therefore, disposable.

Our work adapts - in original stage movement and music - the aesthetic, psychological and narrative elements of film noir to tell the story of our own dark city in 2011. Described as "the aesthetics of anxiety", film noir captured the social and psychological dislocations of its time by visual techniques such as disorienting camera frames, gigantic shadows, and diagonal-upwards chiaroscuro lighting techniques. Conceptually, a key characteristic was the submission of individuality to seriality - the replication of individuals seen as mere instances of a collective. Seriality no longer emerges from mass production but from the infinite replicability of digitised virtual identities. The slipping, vanishing, and corruption of one's self against these social trends - embodied by the city itself - is what this genre expressed and what we express in our piece.

The team

The City Will Crumble was created by
Concept and script: Ana Marambio, David Holyoake, Martin Sandbu
Choreography: Ana Marambio
Music composition: David Holyoake
Rehearsal director: Diego Poupin
Videography and graphic design: David Wall
Sound design: mattmode and David Holyoake
Physical performers: Elina Akhmetova, Denise Cecchi, Sebastian Concha, Mara Domenici, Alejandro Franco, Ilona Kannewurf, Ana Marambio, Diego Poupin, Mariana Taragano
Music recording: David Holyoake (direction and piano), mattmode (soundscape), Lisa Depuis (voice), Dan Robinson (percussion), Paul Silver (sax), Chris Guy (sax), Sacha Yolande McCulloch (cello)
Photography: David Wall and Keira Cullinane
Light and sound technician: Viktor Palfi
Light design for the Courtyard production (6-11 March 2012): Andrew Clunie; for the Warren production (8-9 May 2012): Viktor Palfi

Financial support for the creation of The City Will Crumble from friends of Nyctolopic and the following organisations is gratefully acknowledged:

Nyctolopic benefited greatly from subsidised rehearsal space at: