Off to the Lyric this afternoon to see the ever inspiring Amici Dance Theatre Company perform their new work Tightrope. The philosophy of the company is simple. They work with able bodied and disabled artists without making patronising concessions to either. They don't use buzz words like inclusion or integration because they don't see the relevance. Disabled artists don't need the protection that participant focused terms appear to offer. They, like able bodied performers, just need the time and space to develop. More than any other company I've seen, Amici are who they are, a group of individuals who work together to solve problems and tell some stories.
This year's work celebrated thirty years of the company with a warning. A troupe of aging circus performers cling desperately to the relevance of their act in the face of changing times and tastes. Two clowns, played with great intelligence, by Pius Hickey and Gurpreet Dosanjh, threateningly deride all of the acts with increasing vitriol until, in an incredibly macabre ending, they pour petrol over the performers and set them alight. For all the humour and beauty, it's an uncompromising and angry piece.
Afterwards I caught up with the Drama St Mary's students Vicki, Joe, Emma, Sophie and Ruth who've been working as ASMs - marshaling the fifty plus performers in and out of costumes, off and onto the stage. They were knackered, but had really enjoyed the experience of working on the show. Amici must be a great family to be caught up with of for a little while.