A reflective work by a mother and daughter, ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ draws its inspiration from the exquisite, everlasting poem by Dylan Thomas. With a strong indication for us to ‘live boldly, fight and burn with life’, the duet follows a journey that rages against ‘the dying of the light’ - and is a rage against time itself.
This work was made in honour of a courageous woman, Kath Posner, with a mesmerising sound track specially created by her husband (and Debbie’s brother) Hamid Mantu - World Music artist/co-founder of Transglobal Underground.
Filming and all photos Charlotte Levy.
View interview with Nicholas Minns.
Reviews Do not go gentle
A mother and daughter duet about mortality was bound to be swathed in sentiment, all the more so when inspired by the tragedy of a close family member’s demise and with a score composed especially by the deceased woman’s husband. The rage against his father’s death in Dylan Thomas’s eternal poem, read here by Anthony Hopkins, is cleverly patched into Hamilton Lee’s mesmerising score; fusing lyrical romanticism into upbeat techno, interpreted by flowing contemporary movement, punctuated by Debbie Lee-Anthony’s popping, hip hop style. With an hourglass bluntly emphasising the ‘dying of the light’, it could have strayed into mawkishness, but, instead of being suffocated by poignancy, the performance gelled into an uplifting experience.
Graham Watts (Resolution, 2017)
Innovation is certainly present in Do Not Go Gentle. Mater-Filia are mother and daughter and there’s an unusual pleasure in searching for hints of genetics in their different physicalities. The two women dart in and out of the light to the sounds of the Dylan Thomas poem. They have a restrained aggressive energy, which hints at hip-hop and Graham. It’s urgent and powerfully feminine, a battle-cry to ‘live boldly’. We do eventually build up an immunity to this intensity; the piece would benefit from more low octane moments, but with a title like Do Not Go Gentle, it follows that there aren’t many. The final moment offers some quiet beauty; mother and daughter walk away hand in hand. It’s refreshing but unfortunately too little too late.
Ruby Embley (Resolution, 2017)
Following Quick's romp, Mater-Filia presents Do not Go Gentle, a mother-daughter exploration of mortality. Dripping sounds, a large hourglass and the sounds of ticking clocks point towards themes of life and mortality. Undulating spines and slippery floor work is matched with dancer Lauren Anthony's grounded and bold hip-hop technique. Overall, Do not Go Gentle is intensified by the technical strength of both dancers.
I had already interviewed Debbie Lee-Anthony and her daughter Lauren a couple of weeks before so I was aware of the emotional complexity behind Do Not Go Gentle and the high stakes mother and daughter (Mater-Filia) had placed in the work. It was the first time they were performing together and the inspiration was the life of Lee-Anthony’s late sister-in-law, Kath Posner. It was also the first time Posner’s husband, musician Hamilton Lee (aka Hamid Mantu), had composed a dance score and the first time he was seeing the work dedicated to his late wife. It is a tribute to the artistry of all three that their individual creativity contributes to the full realization of the whole without becoming emotionally fraught: the score arises as much from the poem of Dylan Thomas as it does from the choreographic input of the dancers, and the choreography flows inseparably from the score.
Time is very much the crucible of the poem, and time is what Do Not Go Gentle addresses; we see it in the relative ages of mother and daughter, in time as memories and time as absence, yet the work drills down into the present with stoical force. Lee-Anthony speeds up her movements and her daughter slows down hers in deference to each other’s time when they dance together but each explores their own vocabulary and pace in distinct and poignant soliloquies. Do Not Go Gentle is a meeting of lyrical expressionism and youthful optimism, a conversation in which both mother and daughter fully contribute their feelings and abilities with mutual respect and emotional warmth. Heard but not seen is the essential contribution of Hamilton Lee, the man and the musician, that links mother and daughter in a timeless paean to the enduring bonds of life itself.
Nicholas Minns (Resolution 2017)
Firstly, I would like to thank you and your daughter for such a sensitive and thought provoking piece. The burden of time passing weighs heavily upon us, increasingly so as we age and, particularly with the loss of loved ones and the imagery you had choreographed – you tackled this in a moving and most profound way.
We obviously bring our own life experiences to any show and as a 65 year-old grandmother who had come up to London and spent that day with her son and his beautiful little daughter, I arrived at The Place acutely aware of the passage of time and the importance of family/generation ties - and suddenly there it was on stage with your performance.
It was a delight to see you dancing with your daughter; to see you blending each other’s different techniques and styles of dance; to see such memorable imagery of the tenderness between you - mother supporting the daughter as she leaned against the extended leg of a lunge, and particularly poignant for me, the role reversal as the daughter on all fours bore the whole weight of the mother.
Thank you for seizing the opportunity to work together on 'Do Not Go Gentle' and creating such a sincere and sensitive work.
Anne Rooney (Ex-Head of Dance at St. Vincent College, Gosport)