In describing their sixty-minute piece I Like This, directors and choreographers Antony Hamilton and Byron Perry use such phrases as “dialogue firmly seated in the ridiculous,” “the challenge of extrapolating this unbridled creative fascination,” “fantastically muscular and rhythmic conversations,” “sheer delight and mutability of thought,” “creative cannibalism,” and “general silliness.” In many ways, those terms also relate to their company itself, the Australian-based Chunky Move, which has been presenting visual and physical wonders since its founding in 1995 by artistic director Gideon Obarzanek. In such works as Glow, which played the Kitchen in February 20008 and featured a solo dancer performing on a rectangular floor with motion detectors that integrated her movement with light projections, and Mortal Engine, a 2009 BAM Next Wave entry that took place on a tilted platform that incorporated light and sound into the troupe’s movement, Chunky Move uses cutting-edge technology to create intriguing works that range from being deeply intimate to being overly dependent on too many bells and whistles, although their work is always dazzling to watch. This week Chunky Move will present I Like This at the Joyce Soho, a multimedia piece that comments on itself as it develops in front of the audience, performed by a five-person team that includes Hamilton and Perry along with Stephanie Lake, Alisdair Macindoe, and Joseph Simons. I Like This debuted in November 2008 in Australia, part of the company’s Next Move series, which focuses on work by emerging talent. An After Hours @ Joyce SoHo event will take place following the April 7 performance, with a Q&A and refreshments.
Update: It’s easy to like I Like This. Chunky Move’s hour-long piece is an ingenious display of creation and experimentation as the co-director-choreographer team of Antony Hamilton and Byron Perry have a blast with performers Stephanie Lake, Alisdair Macindoe, and Joseph Simons. Hamilton and Perry spend most of the show on the floor amid exposed, snaking power cords and a boombox, flicking on and off handheld lights to perfectly synchronized electronic soundscapes and effects as the dancers go from seated positions to traversing the stage. Lake does most of the talking, getting into the process as the troupe hides behind chairs, enters a noir tale, finds itself at a campfire, and floats underwater, casting shadows on the surrounding black curtains and changing their positions in the dark as lights go on and off. But I Like This never feels gimmicky; instead, Chunky Move involves the audience by enjoying their own work just like the audience is doing, everyone in the theater getting a kick out of just how much fun all this process-based performance is. Hamilton and Perry also allow Lake, Macindoe, and Simons time to show off their mad dance skills in several vignettes. Following the high-tech grandeur of Mortal Engine, Chunky Move’s I Like This is an immensely likable low-tech wonder.