LOVE is in the air or at least it exists somewhere in the social network... In the run up to Valentine’s Day, award-winning Protein Dance presents LOL (lots of love), a smash hit show about the emotional roller-coaster that is internet dating, at Watford Palace Theatre.
Following the success of last year’s LOL tour, artistic director Luca Silvestrini started the year by scooping the award for Best Independent Company at the 2011 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.
Although still reeling from this success, it is business as usual as Protein Dance, which he co-founded with Bettina Strickler in 1998, prepares for another UK tour.
“There’s so much stuff to do to put the show together,“ admits Luca. “The reality of it has helped put my feet back on the ground.”
Luca tells me the show was first conceived in 2009, back when the text postscript LOL stood for ’lots of love’, my teenage daughter tells me it’s more associated these days with ’laugh out loud’. Does Luca mind if people misunderstand the title?
“When it comes to the closure of a message the meaning can be what you want, no one can establish this is it, you have the right to think what you will. It could be ’laughing out loud’, ’log off loser’, ’lack of luck’, ’lots of luck’, or ’life on line’ – being undefined, the words of the internet stimulate creativity somewhere else.“
In Protein’s hands it inspires opportunities to explore how technology has caused a stir in the world of romance. Dumping someone by text or flirting via email; it’s all part of the modern world of matchmaking that we’re forced to confront.
First researched in 2009, the dance piece focuses on how we respond to people tingling our cyber-senses.
“Three years ago, there was this big boom of social networking but now it’s so embedded into what we do and how we are that certain things are taken for granted,“ explains Luca. “I was used to checking my emails once a day and now I’ve got my phone by my side and I’m checking my inbox every ten minutes.
“Our social behaviour and the attitudes of people move very quickly now so that what you thought was shocking a few months ago has been absorbed and we take it for granted.“
With video animation by Rachel Davies and original music by Andy Pink, six dancers make straight-to-the-audience confessionals in front of a video wall.
“The characters are always looking for love, friendship and connections – their desire might be to find the perfect one to settle down with or to keep intrigue and not settle at all.
“The iconic thing about this age is we are constantly on, always ready to express our thoughts and feelings. We make ourselves available to the others and try not to lose any opportunity that life holds in the moment.“
So it’s a case of – I tweet therefore I am – but Luca suggests, the meaning of what is communicated may become diluted.
“If you’re giving your attention to several different lines of communication simultaneously you wonder how in-depth it is. The attention span gets smaller as it is triggered by a constant overload of signals. The activity is within the medium more than in the need of doing it – like when we upload a picture or write something silly on Facebook – it’s automatic.“
LOL is being performed at Watford Palace Theatre, Clarendon Road, Watford on Tuesday, February 7 at 7.45pm. Details: 01923 225671, www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk