Tree of Codes

It’s not often I get to the Opera House – like the Palace it feeds on a staple of musicals and the like.  But it is a beautiful building and a key part of Manchester’s theatrical landscape.  This MIF production of Tree of Codes ‘brings together the choreographer Wayne McGregor, visual artist Olafur Eliasson and Mercury Prize-winning producer/composer Jamie xx to create a contemporary ballet inspired by the book Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer‘.

And what an experience this is.

It opens with dancers in black wearing lights, weaving patterns that are close to words.  Jamie xx’s score quickly establishes its place.  Then on to more recognisable dance, amazing, beautiful movement in ones, twos and threes.  Lights and one- and two- way mirrors add depth, colour and memorable effects.  The music drives the pace.

This production is stunning because it pulls together the three emotional elements – dance, sound and visuals.   Wayne McGregor’s choreography is beautiful to watch and perfectly performed by the immensely talented dancers.   Olafur Eliasson uses light and mirrors to create not only a visually stunning backdrop, but also brings the audience into the performance; we can see ourselves in a giant mirror, captured by spotlights.  Jamie xx has composed a wonderful score that stands as a body of work in its own right.  But what makes this production so breathtaking is that all three elements support each other completely, building the different emotion within each individual segment of the whole.  You don’t need to understand this production; you feel it.

Theatre increasingly focuses on the ‘Human Condition’ and searches for ways to explore and explain.  Tree of Codes seems to find it, somewhere between the dancers on stage, their reflections and our own reflections.  We are part of this production, connected to it forever; you’ll never forget this.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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