Do You Want To Live Forever? is a story told primarily through dance with a side of poetry added for good measure. It is the story of a man who has learned to live forever and is seeking a worthy partner. Or it is the story of a woman stuck in the doldrums of life with the weight of impending death weighing her down. Their stories overlap in a relationship spanning centuries that eventually sees her reconsidering her place in it all. Neither character is named in the text so I’ll be calling them He and She.
The dance and movement work in the show ranges from excellent to very good. Delightful and mesmerizing. Allison Burns is a gorgeous dancer, exemplifying poetry in motion. Travis Martin makes a wonderful counterpart for their duets. And Alya Graham (as Maum, the goddess responsible for the gift of immortality) does some really fantastic work.
I always feel the need to throw in as a preface when it comes to dance shows that I see a lot of dance. I shoot dance professionally so see thousands of dancers and thousands of routines every year. Usually competitive dancers at a very high level. I only like to mention it because it means I’m not always easily impressed. When, like here, I like a show based on the dance, it’s worth knowing the context.
While the dance really is delightful, where I might love to see some fine tuning in Do You Want To Live Forever? is its narrative flow. The titular question is grazed only very lightly, even with the characters themselves. He is a hedonist, endlessly living for the experiences living gives. She, uses immortality to escape the doldrums of life’s inevitable end, only to get… bored, after a few centuries and changes her mind on the question. That’s enough of a reason, I suppose, but it’s a shallow one that doesn’t lend itself to much dramatic conflict. Understanding the reason, seeing greater resistance in the He/She relationship could help establish a more dramatically compelling narrative. It’s a strong choice for only He to ever speak, in evocative poetry that makes the secondary method for storytelling, so perhaps there’s room for a few more of those moments.
The primary method for storytelling, dance, works quite well. Most of what you’re intended to gleam is interpreted from the dance itself, and the choreography here does a first rate job doing so. This excepting one or two scenes/routines that seem to run a shade too long for what they’re trying to say and so leave some long moments where, narratively, everything is static.
So there’s both sides of it. While there are many more dramatically intense narratives around the festival, for the Fringe patron looking to sit back and enjoy a resplendent visual treat, I would happily point you in the direction of Arts Court Theatre.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think? Did you fall in love with the narrative in Do You Want To Live Forever? What moments stood out for you? Join the discussion and leave a comment below.