Probe’s one woman tour de force Small Talk has just returned from Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was proud to be part of British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2013.
“…beautifully performed, funny, provocative one-woman piece of dance theatre”
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Probe presents a brave, funny, darkly disturbing one woman tour de force made in collaboration with famed performer/director Wendy Houstoun. Embodying the personae of a series of American movie actresses, Grove persistently tries to fulfil the chameleon’s desire to be all things to all people, becoming increasingly unpredictable on her roller coaster journey through states of control, being controlled and losing control. Expect stand-up singing, sit-down talking, monosyllabic dancing and fast-talking movement.
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“In 2010 Wendy and I went into the studio together and made a 10 minute sketch called ‘Small Talk’. After years of watching and admiring Wendy’s solo work, I had a strong desire to work with her and so I commissioned her to create a short solo, in the knowledge that the exact nature and content of it would evolve through our time working together. On completion of the short solo and after performing it for a wide variety of audiences, we both had the sense that we had touched on something that, whilst complete in itself, was screaming out for more. There was more to unravel, more women, more personas, and more Small Talk.
So this is ‘Small Talk’! Premiered in 2012, it has toured to a variety of UK venues, including Soho Theatre in London. The woman, the women, they are all me and they are not me. They are themselves and they are not themselves. They know something and they don’t know anything. And as a result they are always changing and evolving, and learning who they are from the people who witness them.
Clever. Confused. Contradicting. Conflicting. Camouflaged. Chameleon-like.
‘A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.’ Coco Chanel .”
“This is something of a first for me, making a solo for someone else and I am very glad it is for Toni. Somehow she embodies things that have been pre-occupying me for some time: a strange ability to hide and reveal at the same time; a dancer’s discipline combined with a sense of danger; courage and fear in equal measure and a rare capacity to transform.
Small Talk hovers around the territory of theatre but it sidesteps character and motivation and instead pushes for an immediacy that I often feel is missing from acting. Watching Toni perform I often have the feeling I am not quite sure who and what I am watching and it is exactly this quality that draws me in. If you are tired of watching Big Dance, we hope Small Talk will refresh you.”
Commissioned by South East Dance and Nightingale Theatre, and was made with support from Arts Council England, The Place, The Point and Merlin Theatre.