Philip Connaughton and Ashley Chen have been performing together for over ten years. Philip has a scar from where Ashley threw his wife’s stiletto at him. Another time Philip nearly broke Ashley’s toe.
Now they present Whack!!, an explosive work about two bodies colliding, shifting between comedy and tragedy. Whack!! has had audiences of all ages in fits of giggles.
Whack!! is a new work, physically and technically demanding, shifting between comedy and tragedy, violence and tenderness, from two incredible and renowned performers, Philip Connaughton from Dublin and Ashley Chen from Paris. Whack!! premiered in France, and will be staged at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday 1 March as part of an Irish tour this spring.
Having worked together for over a decade, via careers on stages across the globe, the two dancers have now created this violent tour de force, pushing their bodies to their absolute limits, colliding, dressed in suits in a bright white space.
It’s a choreographic exercise in obstruction, the two performers negotiating each other as obstacles. Are they fighting? Is there a winner? Or are they just trying to communicate?
In one performance Philip broke a rib. “I felt like I was in a Roman arena. Anyway I survived and it was an exciting performance.”
“It was particularly exciting to see how delighted the younger audience members were – afterwards they treated Ashley and me with an element of respect fit for wrestlers or superheroes,” he said.