Filmed here for a special episode of The South Bank Show, DV8 Physical Theatre’s production of Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men was inspired by the grisly world of the notorious 80’s serial killer Dennis Nilsen. He was responsible for 16 murders in London. The majority of his victims lived on the edge of society and were visitors at his home.
“I was left with an endless search through the soul-destroying pub scene and its resulting one-night stands …passing faces and bodies, the unfulfilled tokens of an empty life. A house is not a home and sex is not a relationship. We would only lend each other our bodies in a vain search for inner peace.” ~ Dennis Nilsen.
Around these events, DV8 poses questions on desire and sensuality. Founded upon the conviction that societal homophobia is bound to result in tragic consequences, it gets to grips with the disturbing forces that drove Nilsen to kill for company.
DV8’s work for four men, explores through non-narrative dance theatre the interwoven notions of loneliness, desire and trust. The men enact private rituals which become disturbing in their familiarity. When does the ordinary become extraordinary? Their actions push the boundary of naturalism to the extreme, the space becomes a landscape of loneliness where “nature makes no provision for emotional death” and men are left to resurrect their own lives.
Wild, cruisy sex, that staple of gay male identity, is not what it used to be. The added bonus issue of mortality has made it quirkier, riskier, and more enticingly forbidden. Its inherent dysfunction, however, has never seemed steamier than in this homoerotic, salaciously arty Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men. In this television version, anonymous sex is sweat-soaked, serious business with arousing, if somber, consequences. But, like the real thing, getting there is too delicious to do without.
Filmed in starkly lit, anguish- and muscle-enhancing black and white, Dead Dreams looks like a living George Platt Lynes photograph set in a fevered, prison like bar world, pulsating with wordless sexual narratives, twitchy erotic appetites and well-shorn, hunky men. DV8’s extremely physical choreography, while at times almost acrobatic, is appropriately rooted in urban sexual realism. Seamlessly woven into the “dance” are universally recognizable cruising rituals, cigarette smoke, boot licking, S&M, jockey short fetishes, and not-so-dry humping.
In the anguished twilight between the meat market of gay clubland and brokenhearted bedsitter land, the fine line between sex and death is all but erased. Harrowing, and bleak, the fierce physical action that has become DV8’s trademark is nevertheless shaped into a forceful plea for humanity in a dehumanising world.
Easily transcending the stigmas of both dance and television with its use of angst-ridden sexual truth, Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men ultimately posits an unlikely, white hot link between performance art and performance anxiety.
Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men is punctuated by 10 “pieces”.
01. “I feel love”
03. “The Pedestal”
04. “I just want to be with you — Alone”
05. “Drum and Dance”
06. “Falling down”
07. “Knock over”
09. “Bell chimes”
10. “Stay awhile”
727MB | 50 min 29 s | 690×540 | mkv