Dende Collective, The Piranha Lounge

Review in Issue 16-2 | Summer 2004

Dende Collective is a multi-ethnic collective of artists who are continuously looking for different ways of breaking the traditional physical space between performers and audiences. Their last piece, Onefourseven, was set in a doctor’s waiting room, with audience members becoming patients waiting for their tum. This time we are welcomed into an after-hours club after giving the password to the bouncer. The simple transformation of the Lyric Studio into the Piranha Lounge makes you feel like you have entered a special place.

Sitting around the wooden tables of the Piranha Lounge, you are rapidly drawn into Dende’s enchanting world, enveloped in magic surrealism and full of bizarre characters who all have a story to tell.

The stories, by Brazilian writer Murilo Rubiao, unfold with ease in front of our eyes. The piece was devised by the ensemble under the direction of Andre Pink, and scripted by Mark O’Thomas: a woman who falls in love with dragons pleads with her neighbours to leave them alone; the sexy Petunia greets her lovers with a whip; while the Barbosa, the creature with animal schizophrenia, fights to become a man.

The international cast of eleven use both text and movement to provide an evening of high-quality entertainment. Music, masks and commedia dell’arte also add to the piece’s theatricality. I particularly enjoyed the unusual moment when the actors left the performance space, joined a different group of audience members, and then each gave their own rendition of the beginning of Barbosa’s story. One of many memorable moments lived in the Piranha Lounge

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-2
p. 26