Two bodies making contact, rolling over and through each other, melting together and then departing, separating at speed. Two bodies attracting, resisting, rejecting, and connecting. MayBe, created by Marc Brew Company in collaboration with Natalia Mallo, Gisele Calazans, and Mirella Brandi, is about love, about a sort of love not often found on stages. A love that contorts, twists, fades, appears, shatters; the sort of love you tie yourself in knots for, that doesn’t happen overnight yet can fade without warning. The sort of love that, judging from the reaction of most watching on at Tramway, people genuinely feel for each other.
The lovers meet, as many are want to do, in a near-darkness underscored by an electronic beat. There is a mutual attraction, and a foreplay enacted through connections and departures, Brew and Calazans’ bodies gracing each other, exploring the ways in which they might combine, as the electronic pulse roars into a rich score. It is loud, it is passionate, it is romantic, and it isn’t sustainable. A doubt manifests, the movements become cumbersome, each lover grows frustrated, they are unable to connect. Their separation is painful, awkward, difficult to understand.
Mirella Brandi’s lighting design is deeply effecting, heightening the emotions on display. The contrasts she renders between the blue-shirted Brew and the red-dressed Calazan, and the depth of the darkness created behind them, is exceptionally pretty. Without wishing to be over the top, or to sensationalise, watching MayBe is the closest experience to observing a moving Caravaggio painting I can imagine. Brandi creates images that you just want to dive into, to be completely absorbed by, to, in short, fall in love with.
MayBe draws from an eclectic range of influences, perhaps representing its roots as a cross-cultural collaboration, that exchange of different knowledges, of the sounds of Portuguese, English and the movements of dance and sign language. Mallo has a beautiful voice, and moves to the front of the stage to sing and sign Suely Mesquita & Glaucco Lourenço’s ‘Realejo.’ Brew’s voice-over talks about characters in Home and Away, and black and white images from Michelangelo Antonioni’s film La Notte are projected on the back wall.
As the lovers move to reconnect, the pain of separation subsided, Mallo serenades us with a slowed-down rendition of K.D. Lang’s Maybe. The music builds triumphantly, swelling into this confident confusion, this pleasure found only in not knowing, where you are maybe falling in love, and maybe not.
“Maybe I’ll ask or
No, Maybe I won’t.
Oh, it may be disaster
No, maybe it won’t”
The last glimpse we see of these lovers is them both lying on the floor, sharing a pool of light, curled into each other. At once very much together, very much in love, and also very fragile, very liable to break.
One of Unlimited Festival’s stated aims is to change the perceptions and attitudes towards disabled artists, through giving a platform to shows that demonstrate quality and artistic excellence. Much like the rest of the work I had the pleasure of seeing at the Unlimited festival at Tramway, MayBe is more than worthy of this aim, it is a beautiful piece to watch.