The Scotsman Sessions #211: Solène Weinachter

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, dancer Solène Weinachter performs an extract from her one-woman show Antigone Interrupted

One of the last performances on a Scottish stage before lockdown, Antigone Interrupted gave Solène Weinachter her first chance to carry an entire show. A one-woman re-telling of Sophocles’ Antigone, she played several characters, with the audience sitting “in the round.”

From her time with Scottish Dance Theatre, through working with Joan Clevillé Dance and Ben Duke’s Lost Dog company, Weinachter has always demonstrated a formidable capacity to deliver both text and movement, often at the same time. For the Scotsman Sessions, she worked with director Clevillé to use the camera as a substitute audience. Here we see Weinachter play both the defiant Antigone and her more timid sister Ismene, sharing the news that only one of their dead brothers will receive a burial – the other is to be left lying “until the dogs pick him to the bone.”

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“We chose to film in it in the Scottish Dance Theatre studio as a testimony to where our practice can be just now,” explains Weinachter, “not in the theatre yet but not stuck in our bedrooms anymore. And we combined aspects of the live version, where I turn to meet the audience one at a time, and the digital version where I only relate to the camera. We filmed it with a hand-held to enhance the perspective of the lens that takes both Antigone and Ismene’s points of view.”

Solène Weinachter

While it’s no substitute for an hour in Weinachter’s company on stage, film does offer new possibilities. “When I perform in the round during the live show, I have no control over the audience’s point of view,” she says. “In the digital version, this completely changes as I can relate everything I do, think and feel to the tiny lens of the camera. It’s one strong reference point to work from and project into.”

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