A HISTORY OF SWIMMING (in Production)
A History of Swimming
Michael Laundry’sA History of Swimming is a confluence of three water stories flowing in entangled and parallel streams. The first water story is a stage adaptation of John Cheever’s The Swimmer (1964) on it’s 50-year-anniversary. The second concerns the finding of an extinct Chinese river dolphin called the Baiji, and the last is a speculative love letter to screenwriter Eleanor Perry. Perry penned the screenplay for a 1968 film adaptation of The Swimmer. The work asks critical questions: what happens when we sell off our public pools? What would happen if we found an extinct baby Yangtze River dolphin? Why does the Norwegian Public Radio service advise us to pee in the shower? Why do black children drown at 5-times the rate of white kids? A History of Swimming is a 55-minute work of contemporary theatre meditating on human and non-human relationships to water in the anthropocene.
A History of Swimming is in production 2024 and has been selected for the Reykjavik Dance Festival Summer Residency (Summer 2024). The poject is a co-productions with SCEN 46 & with Slip of the Lip Productions, and is supported by BIT Teatergarasjen.
A History of Swimming swims across movements, piercing dialogues and vivant tableaux – the experience fluidly shifts between theatre to dance to performance art and back again to challenge how we see water, swimming, and our problematic relationship to a so-called hydrofuture.
A History of Swimming is the final composition of Michael Laundry’s Swimmer series, an ongoing research project on hydrochoreography, which premiered at BIT Teatergarasjen in 2018. The project has manifested as a watery body of: dance, theatre, performance art, performance lectures and installations in various exhibitions spaces, venues and pools in Norway, Germany and England. A History of Swimming builds on a hydrochoreographic oeuvre: (The Swimmer (2018), UBI SUNT 4 She-Wolf Defaced (2020) Meet Me at the Pool (2021), and River Dolphin (2023).
Slipping between personal narratives, and socio-political speculation on water, monologues are accompanied by live saxophone and electronic soundscapes and dance choreography, as well as offbeat interventions with 3D-printed floating scenography. A History of Swimming is now being adapted for the black box but is site-sensitive and adaptable for project spaces or outdoor venues.
Concept and performance: Michael Laundry
Choreography: Michael Laundry
Video Installation: Michael Laundry
3D Printed Scenography: Michael Laundry
Dramaturgical support: Joshua Wicke
Sound technician: Jonas Skarmark
Saxaphone: Jonas Flemsæter Hamre
Cello: Daniel Thornhill
Lighting Design: Thomas Bruvik
Costume design: Michael Laundry
Supported by: Reykjavik Dance Festival Summer Residency, Nordic Culture Point, Bergen Kommune, BIT Teatergarasjen, San José State University, Neon Kunst, Berlin.