Salford Now preview the latest masterpiece from Suzy Wilson and Clod Ensemble, ‘Placebo’ before it’s debut at the Lowry Theatre in Salford.

The Director of ‘Clod Ensemble’ Suzy Wilson, a performance company based in London, built the company over two decades ago with her childhood friend, Paul Clark.

‘Clod Ensemble’ work with dancers, actors, musicians, medics, architects and orchestras in which their work is presented across the UK and internationally in theatres, dance houses, galleries and public spaces.

The companies latest creation ‘Placebo’ explores the idea of the placebo effect – experimenting how the phenomenon has given a whole collection of different responses.

Accompanied by an original score of a contrast of different musical styles, Suzy Willson’s direction of the movement highlights the distortion and confusion of the effect. It shows how something considered to not even be real can have so many beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and consequences.

In a recent Interview, Suzy told us that she has admired the creative industry since her youngest years – Herself and accompanying Clod Ensemble Director, Paul Clark, made their first piece together in 1996 based on a Russian play.

“Five words to describe Placebo would be; thought-provoking, colourful, visually stunning, empowering and energetic.”

When asking about the differences Placebo has to Clod Ensemble’s other works, she expressed: “What I think is different about this play is that we are working with young fashion designers – They bring this sort of extraordinary, visual look to the show and all the costumes have been designed by them which is really exciting.

“Also it’s the first piece where we have just worked with dancers, although I’d say it’s not just for a dance audience, it’s generally theatrical.”

Elaborating on the concept behind the play, Suzy states: “So, in medical trials, the effectiveness of the drug is tested against a placebo pill which is inactive, so effectively, a sugar pill. But often in these trials, the placebo pill actually shows an improvement in health.

“I’ve always been interested in medicine and I think that this placebo response, for me, shows how important other factors are in the healing process – things like: what expectations do people bring to a medical encounter, how important is it that people trust their doctor and what type of conditioning have they had in their lives to make them believe that something is going to be more effective.

“So I suppose placebo response points to an extraordinary ability of human beings to make themselves, not only feel better, but to become better because they produce incredible chemicals in their brains to improve their health.”

She explained that she doesn’t expect her audience to understand the concept of ‘placebo response’ and that it’s not just for people interested in science, It’s also a dance piece that has been constructed to enable everybody to enjoy the show and for it to be a great experience and night-out.

Delving into Suzy’s background, we discussed her training with the legendary theatre and movement teacher Jacques Lecoq in Paris.Suzy described her experience when studying with Lecoq as “completely life-changing”.

Placebo is due to be performed for the first time at The Lowry Theatre in Salford, Greater Manchester, on the 11th – 13th October 2018 before making its way to Brighton, Preston and London.

Article by Callum Metcalfe and Leah Mosley

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