Monday, May 29, 2006


Production: Dumb Type
Location: Tramway Glasgow

Dumb Type is a Japanese production company who encourage multi media disciplines. I am mainly aware of them from the involvement of Japanese microtonal composer Ryoji Ikeda. Ikeda having provided the music for Dumb Type's Voyage, which played in Glasgow for 2 nights and saw the company return to the city for the first time in 10 years.

Voyage is a series of scenes, all linking together through the idea of travel, of going on a journey. Two women in a cave, shouting in Japanese as they try to find each other. Subtitles scroll across the screen at the back of the stage, men sweep stones in their path they run in circles. Eventually they are standing side-by-side, comedy arising from it being so dark and cavernous that they can't see each other or tell where the voices are coming from.

A woman cuts a square from a map, puts it into a typewriter, adding new destinations. The stage fills with airhostesses who go through the regimented motions of service, transforming into a grand dance routine. A Japanese woman lies on a circle of grass and tells us in accented English about all her dreams, while the screen shows vast mountain ranges. A passenger runs for a plane, a woman dressed in a grey spacesuit dances through space with voice synching with a man singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Voyage is a mix of humour, absurdity, dance, beauty and passion. Ikeda's sound track ranges from primordial bass, through big dance numbers, to bursts of chaotic noise, all interspersed with examples of his trademark minimalism. The stage is large and goes through all the necessary transformations - from gravel-floored cave to highly reflective outer space. The floor to ceiling screen adds dialogue, images and film - most effective when it seems to extend into the endless floor. The whole sucks us in, becomes hypnotic, fascinating, and we find ourselves grinning with appreciation.

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