This is that is a thought-provoking installation piece created by choreographer Philippe Blanchard together with filmmakers Luca and Gabriele Stifani where the construction of images and the meaning we attach to appearances is questioned.
A stripped-down and witty work with attention to detail, This is that invites the spectators to explore multiple layers of interpretation of what is seen and heard. Through repetition and transformation, calling upon our imagination and sense of togetherness, the Stifani brothers play with our perception of what things are or could be here and now – or somewhere else, some other time – blurring a few lines along the way.
As Harold Pinter wrote: "There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false."
When we dissociate surface and content, appearances become less obvious and our impressions shift. A mental space opens up where can set out on a journey of unexpected associations towards different meanings.
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY Philippe Blanchard
CREATED IN COLLABORATION WITH Luca Stifani, Gabriele Stifani and Ulrich Ruchlinski
PERFORMERS Luca Stifani and Gabriele Stifani
LIGHTING AND SOUND DESIGN Ulrich Ruchlinski
COSTUMES Philippe Blanchard and Gemma Higginbotham
VOICE ACTORS Arran Green and Jackson Watson
PRODUCTION Global Art Collaborations/Blanchard
FUNDED BY Swedish Arts Council, Swedish Arts Grants Committee/Konstnärsnämnden, City of Stockholm
SUPPORTED BY Dance City (UK), The Place (UK), The Nightingale Theatre (UK), O Espaço do Tempo (PT), Inkonst (SE), wp Zimmer (BE)
WITH THANKS TO Maika Knoblich, Peter Connelly, Alex Catona, Andy Zondag, Alexa Meade, Christina Neuss, Joe Fowler, Andy Smith, Lindsay Hanon, Egle Dubinkaite
Premiered 21 September 2013 at Dance City, Newcastle (UK) under the working title Original Copy.
Previous performances (as Original Copy): 30 September-3 October 2013 at Dansens Hus, Stockholm (SE), 5 October 2013 at Inkonst, Malmö (SE).
This is as much spoken dance as danced dance. Dance as a way to relate to the world and to reality. Although Luca and Gabriele Stifani are not dancers, they are natural stage performers. In a soft, stripped-down and humorous way, Philippe Blanchard expresses trying to set the borders of existence from within oneself. It is simple and charming, sometimes also very touching.
- Jenny Aschenbrenner, Cultural News, Swedish National Radio P1.
It sparkles when the Stifani brothers engage in a crisp, rhythmic and brilliant duet during a trivial dialogue that turns into a chic conversation, unveiling layers of unexpected genius. In that moment comedy, sharpness and physicality come to a perfect symbiosis with the brothers' and Blanchard's dryness.
Tommi Salmela, Kulturbloggen.
[This is that] can be seen as a staged play about the philosophical discrepancy between the signifier and the signified. In a fast-forward pace, we get to see examples of how we constantly agree about surface and content, and how interpretations shift.
- Anna Ångström, Swedish national daily Svenska Dagbladet.
The Italian twins brothers Luca and Gabriele Stifani put the concept of identity to the test over and over again and it makes me reflect more than once over the fact that we often determine what we see without questioning our own gaze. This forceful work tickles perception and expands it at the same time.
- Helena Lie, Swedish online paper Tidningen Kulturen.