Sunday, October 26, 2008
The rumble scene in West Side Story takes place in a freeway underpass. The area is a dead end with rotting plaster, brick walls and mesh wire fences. The area is poorly lit with some areas spot lit. The emotions that are present in the rumble scene are fear, hate, anger and the quest for power and identity. The hatred and fear is dramatised in the rumble through the tight choreography, which swings from balletic to semi realistic. The movement is staccato – alternating in rhythm from fast to slow through music and gestures.
The song ‘tonight’ sets the scene and the ensemble singing in opposition creates anticipation and excitement levels build to a peak of tension. The staccato rhythm defines the aggression and fear expressed in the dancer’s movements as they line up to face each other. The materials used in the set are overwhelming in scale and form. The steel, concrete and wire mesh represent the prison the gangs’ lives are lived in. The ‘violent’ materials and enclosed industrial space add to the tension and sense of impending tragedy and death. The dominance of red and black symbolise anger and danger and this is set in the red tones used in the previous song ‘tonight’, which leads in to the rumble with a saturated blood red scene and ominous whistling sound.
The use of jagged lines formed by the dancers creates a dynamic and dangerous rhythm. The angles formed by the dancers repeat the staccato score and the strong geometry of the highway.