A response by Fernando Tunon Hernandez
I have always wondered why contemporary dance enclosed itself so often in tense seriousness, as if the body could only express conflict and uneasiness, and very rarely have I witnessed pure joy convey through movement and sound. Could it be that the harsh hours spent on rehearsing erase the lightness of being a dancer, or did I miss a memo about what contemporary dance should be.
And then came Luke Murphy, and oh is this boy from Cork!
Luke walked us through a journey between Ireland and the United States, with all the odd stories you can imagine from people expecting you to be Irisher than the shamrock. Luke grabs the mic and turns the Firkin Crane into a stand up comedy club before the physicality takes over while everyone is still in stitches. This is just the start of a roller-caster type of journey where, for once, the audience is the one that remained on their toes from start to finish. Every media under the sun would be used to convey the various moments and feeling of Luke’s experience with blast of explosive dance performance connecting the dots.
Contemporary dance works on the extreme with moments where the audience truly fears for the physical integrity of the bodies on stage. Luke Murphy found marvelous ways to share this accepted fragility of the performer without getting his public tense at any moment, knowing exactly where to stop, where to switch mood and where to vanish. At some stage we see him struggling with a letter to a friend, and the trembling clumsy handwriting he produced was worth a thousand moves.
This boy is funny, touching, sincere and gifted. There’s something about him that would make him a star in Cork, and we truly need to keep him in.
A very clever performance took place on this Sunday night at the Firkin Crane, and that’s an adjective I don’t remmember having ever used before to talk about a show and surely the light design played an important part in it, through a smiling dialogue between technique and body work.
“I am happy” were the closing words of the performer on a short Q & A session following his sharing.
You got all the reason to be, boy!
Fernando Tunon Hernandez
Luke Murphy at Sheep’s Head. 2015