Shaun Parker’s exciting new dance work, King, is a physical symposium on the subjects of patriarchy, masculine identity, societal construct, and male sexuality, all played out in a cocktail lounge/jungle setting. The director and choreography were inspired by contemporary conversations in the public arena around entrenched gender behaviours.
“I was looking at all the male power systems and how the same things keep happening, and it is exhausting,” says Parker, “But the thing is, people create it – other men create it.”
The plot is a Lord Of The Flies type scenario in which an elite group of well-dressed men arrives at an undefined, surreal location.
From the various male types and tropes a social structure evolves and a leader emerges, but the group ultimately revolts against its own creation. It’s mostly told through dance and it is fast and intense.
“There’s one scene we worked on for three weeks non-stop, It’s seven minutes long […] it’s highly detailed,” says Parker.
There’s no dialogue but there is a singing narrator. Parker originally thought he would play the role – then he saw a video of Bulgarian singer/artist/phenomenon Ivo Dimchev.
“He’s the perfect counterpoint,” thought Parker. “The perfect gender neutral, in a way.” Dimchev is world renowned for his unique, kid-leather voice and earnest, theatrical renditions.
“I like the fact that he’s a very tall man, muscular, but very effeminate as well.”
Dimchev very rarely collaborates, but Parker sent some videos of dance sequences and was thrilled to get “okay, where do we go from here?” in response. Where they went was a full collaboration in which Dimchev wrote songs, composed music, and will be on stage singing during the entire performance, an integral part of the narrative.
“He’s definitely the puppet-master. He knows what’s going on and he controls all the action,” explains Parker.
The velvet purple jacket clad, visually stunning Dimchev with his ethereal vocals, coupled with the intricate, powerful physicality of extraordinary dancers promises to make King a regal experience.
Feb 20-24. Seymour Centre, Cnr Clevland St & City Rd, Chippendale. $39-$49+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.seymourcentre.com
By Rita Bratovich