CONVERSATION PIECE

A Lucy Guerin Inc & Belvoir Co-production, premiered at the Belvoir St Theatre, August, 2012 

Conversation Piece brings together three actors and three dancers in a unique encounter between two performing art forms. The performers engage in an eight-minute conversation at the beginning of the show, which is completely spontaneous and unplanned from one night to the next. Recorded and repeated, this initial conversation becomes the script for the work that follows, using the ever-present iPhone to generate live music, songs, dance steps and text. The words remain the same but their intention shifts from frivolous, to hilarious, to boring, to cruel; tuning into the complexities and hidden subtexts of everyday chit-chat.

In 2011, Lucy Guerin was invited to do a three-week development with Belvoir St Theatre. The result was Conversation Piece, a co-production with Belvoir which brings together dancers and actors in a unique exploration of the two performing art disciplines. The original idea for the work emerged organically in the rehearsal room through the process of exploring human communication through both dance and dialogue. Lucy describes this unstructured development process as both daunting and exciting, allowing the freedom to explore her interest in how dance as a form of expression compares to linguistic communication.

Three dancers meet on a brightly lit stage containing just three rows of orange plastic chairs and begin the show with an eight-minute conversation, which is completely unscripted and spontaneous, meandering from topic to topic. Each performance of the work is therefore entirely different and original, forming the basis of the performance that follows. Conversation Piece explores the seemingly trivial nature of everyday social interactions, as well as the hidden meanings and underlying subtleties and complexities of the simplest of conversations.

iPhones are an important feature of the production, representing the impact of technology on social interaction and relationships, and its ability to both isolate and connect us. Various conversations and dance sequences are recorded, played back, copied, re-enacted and critiqued. iPhone apps are also used by the performers to generate some of the music that is woven into the soundscape, with the phones plugged in and out of connectors that drop down from the ceiling.

Critic Darryn King says: “Choreographer Lucy Guerin and her performers have sought to capture nothing less than the myriad challenges of living with our fellow human beings: a preoccupation it shares with all the greatest theatre. They pull it off with grace, wit and flair.” (Time Out Sydney, first published 2011)

Conversation Piece was first performed at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney in 2012, followed by performances as part of the Dance Massive festival in 2013. Appropriate casting was crucially important, and the performers embraced the challenges of a piece so dependent on improvisation. For Lucy Guerin, being unable to control what happened on the stage each night was both a challenge and a great pleasure: “I never tire of watching this work – not only is the conversation and therefore the content different each night, there are strange links created between the text and movement that will never happen again.” (Massive Chats: Lucy Guerin, Conversation Piece, 2013).

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

Winner of the 2013 Green Room Award for Concept & Realisation in Dance

PAST PERFORMANCES:

12-13 June, 2014: Glasgow, Tramway, Scotland
8 June, 2014: Pilsen, Pap-rna, Czech Republic
2 – 4 June, 2014: Prague, Tanec Praha, Czech Republic
19-23 March, 2013: Dance Massive, Arts House, Meat Market, Melbourne
Premier – 25 August-16 September, 2012: Season at Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney

REVIEWS | PREMIER SEASON 2012

“Three actors. Three dancers. Unpredictable results.”

Belvoir St Theatre, 2012.

Images: Brett Boardman (2012)

Creative Team

  • director: Lucy Guerin
  • Choreographer: Lucy Guerin
  • Dancers from Premiere Production: Alisdair Macindoe , Alison Bell , Harriet Ritchie , Matthew Whittet , Megan Holloway , Rennie McDougall
  • Costume Designer: Robert Cousins
  • Lighting designer: Damien Cooper
  • Set Designers: Robert Cousins
  • Sound Designers: Robin Fox

image gallery

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Publicity & Media

  • Keith Gallasch, 'Weather patterns and word dances', RealTime Arts Magazine, 2012.

    Article publicising two upcoming works: Conversation Piece and Weather. It features an interview with Lucy Guerin discussing the origins and evolution of these works.

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  • Jill Sykes, 'Word and movement in battle royal', Sydney Morning Herald, 2012.

    Short review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre.

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  • Veronica Hannon, 'Review: Conversation Piece', Melbourne Community Voice, 2012.

    Short review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre.

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  • Keith Gallasch, 'Talk about going to pieces!', RealTime Magazine, 2012.

    Detailed review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre.

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  • Bethany Simons, 'Dance Massive - In conversation with Lucy Guerin', AussieTheatre.com, 2012.

    Article publicising Dance Massive 2013. Details an interview with Lucy Guerin about the creative process behind Conversation Piece.

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  • Jordan Beth Vincent, 'Conversation Piece', Sydney Morning Herald, 2013.

    Short review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Arts House, Meat Market.

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  • Stephanie Glickman, 'Dance review: Conversation Piece, Lucy Guerin Inc.', Herald Sun, 2013.

    Short review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Arts House, Meat Market.

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  • Diana Simmonds, 'Conversation Piece', Stage Noise, 2012.

    Review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre.

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  • Anne-Marie Peard, 'Dance Massive: Conversation Piece', AussieTheatre.com, 2013.

    Review of Conversation Piece, as performed at Dance Massive, Melbourne, 2013.

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  • John McCallum, 'An intriguing conversation piece', The Australian, 2012.

    Review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney, 2012.

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  • Darryn King, 'Conversation Piece', Time Out Sydney, 2012.

    Review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney, 2012.

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  • Lloyd Bradford Syke, 'Review: Conversation Piece', Crikey, 2012.

    Review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney, 2012.

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  • Cassie Tongue, 'Conversation Piece - Belvoir', AussieTheatre.com, 2012.

    Review of Conversation Piece, as performed at the Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney, 2012.

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  • Deborah Jones, 'Belvoir and STC programs play at mix-andmatch', The Australian, 2011.

    Article on upcoming programs for the Belvoir St Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company in 2012, with a mention of Conversation Piece.

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  • Sally Bennett, 'Dancer step out in style', Herald Sun, 2013.

    Article publicising upcoming Dance Massive festival in Melbourne 2013, featuring Conversation Piece.

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  • 'Massive Chats: Lucy Guerin, Conversation Piece', Dance Massive website, 2013.

    Article publicising the performance of Conversation Piece at Dance Massive in Melbourne, 2013, featuring an interview with Lucy Guerin.

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collection items

  • Belvoir St Theatre program, 2012.

    Program for the performance of Conversation Piece at the Belvoir St Theatre, 2012.

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  • Conversation Piece flyer, Belvoir St Theatre, 2012.

    Flyer for the performance of Conversation Piece at the Belvoir St Theatre, 2012.

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  • Conversation Piece program, Dance Massive, 2013.

    Program for the performance of Conversation Piece at Dance Massive, 2013.

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  • Belvoir St Theatre program, 2012.

    Cover of the program for Conversation Piece, Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney, 2012.

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Audio

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about the Archive

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about the history of Lucy Guerin Inc

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