Agnes and Walter (A Little Love Story)
- Kirstin Innes
- 29 July 2011
This article is from 2011.
A Walter Mitty-inspired dance performance that reclaims the power of daydreams
Poor old Walter Mitty. Since James Thurber published the Secret Life in the 1930s, his name has become synonymous with deranged fantasising. However, a newly-established dance company has decided to rescue him from the sniggers of history.
‘Something in the story struck a chord with me as a schoolboy,’ says Neil Paris, artistic director of Smith dancetheatre. ‘Children are always being told to “wake up” or “snap out of it”, but the ability to daydream is a vital part of creativity.’ Paris has also taken a fresh look at the relationship between Walter and his wife Agnes, traditionally depicted as a nagging harridan. The company describes the work as ‘a love song to long-term commitment’, and has used movement and song to suggest how a couple’s daydreams might grow together over the years.
Casting has been purposefully cross-generational, with professional and amateur dancers in the production ranging in age from 28–78. ‘Any physical restrictions the older dancers might have provided us with opportunities to develop unexpected movement vocabularies,’ says Paris. ‘Discussing these ideas with a friend whose parent is developing Alzheimer’s, we realised that the focus on Walter’s fantasies actually parallels those shifts of memory and perception that come with age, too.’
Zoo Southside, 662 6892, 5–13 Aug (not 10), 2pm, £10 (£8).