Louise Ahl is a Glasgow-based artist who makes work under the name Ultimate Dancer. She is the choreographer and designer of the show For Now We See Through A Mirror, Darkly, a dance and physical performance piece with a difference. The show draws on mysticism and symbolism to present a restrained performance that puts into question what we see and what we hear.
There are three performers on the stage (Louise Ahl, Peter McMaster and Jo Hellier). Each is wearing black clothing covered in symbols and diagrams. Their eyes and heads scan back and forth in a mechanical and clockwork fashion. To the back of the stage is a cloth with features an illustration of an explosion. This bizarre scene is complimented with a voice over that lets us know we are in mystical place that is inspired by alchemy and strangeness.
The show completely removes the humanity of the characters. The voice-over refers to their limbs as “flesh sticks” and their mouths as “taste holes”. The characters have no personality and this fully contributes to the eerie nature of the show. The voice-over also does little to enthuse any personality into the performance. Here the audience are left with the agency to find a personal connection with the work. This is somewhat frustrating and challenging, but it is also what makes For Now We See Through A Mirror, Darkly an interesting physical theatre piece. The three characters move in restrained and anxious ways. They seem static and restrained. Despite the restrictive nature of the performance it is impossible to predict what will happen next. It has an uncanny appeal, where the voice-over and the visuals combine to hold the attention of the audience and take us on a strange and peculiar trip.
The show is part of the Made in Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe, a selection of events presents the best theatre, music, dance and performance in Scotland and this performance showcases the range of work on offer.