‘So You Think You Can Dance’ judge, choreographer and dancer Sisco Gomez talks about latest show ‘FRAY’ to play at Wilton’s Music Hall
In our technological age, web 1, 2 and 3 (metaverses) dominate, our lives now lived online in parallel to our material realities. Making its debut in the UK, after a sold out run out in San Francisco, Fray – is a tale of two brothers, Tulio and Ziya as they navigate competing passions of Hip Hop dancing and for the shared world of adventure they discover inside of video games. Their bond frays over time and the older brother is lured away by dark forces. Set to take Wilton’s Town Hall by storm for 3 nights only, Candybomber Productions fuse dance, music, and digital visuals to engage us with this story. Choreographed by Sisco Martinez, who notably rose to prominence dancing for the likes of Madonna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Paula Abdul and Kylie Minogue amongst others, we learn more about his vision for the show and what we can expect!
Hi Sisco, your show Fray will show from 24th to 26th July at Wilton’s Music Hall. How are you feeling ahead of the show?
I’m excited and nervous. I cannot wait for the show to take shape. The cast that we have are so talented . It’s candybomber’s London debut so there’s a lot of pressure. We cannot wait to let London have it ! 🙂
Fray fuses world class dance, music, and digital visuals to tell a story about 2 deeply bonded brothers – Tullio and Ziya navigating competing passions of Hip Hop dancing and for the shared world of adventure they discover inside of video games as over time, their bond frays when the older brother is lured away by dark forces. How have you found exploring this choreographically?
It’s been a good, complex and challenging process. Tulio & Ziya exist in Kate’s mind so my job is to try to make her characters come to life.
That’s why I love the rehearsal process – you get to experiment and create characters that have existed in other people’s minds. To see the final product is so rewarding.
You’ve teamed up with Herobeat Studios situated in Barcelona to build a video game for PCs which is currently in development – based around the Fray narrative and characters. How have you worked with Herobeat to help realise the game?
The story is the foundation for both the show on stage and the game. It was challenging because we were taking a story that a live audience member gets to watch, and turning it into a game in which players must be able to make choices and face challenges they can win or lose. I also wanted the players to feel like they are dancing. We spent a number of months wrestling with this challenge, and ultimately designed a rhythm based game in which the player plays as the main character, Tullio and must move to the beat of music to energy points in order to solve puzzles and dance battle enemies. He must become better and better at dancing as he moves through the game’s four levels while the older brother character gradually weakens. The story arc is the same as the stage version when Tullio must finally become strong enough to carry his older brother to the game’s final end, which is a symbolic home.
The show is written and directed by Kate Duhamel, choreographed by yourself, and stars Elijah Smith, Jamai Robinson, Alex Chambers, Jost Karlin, Ken Nguye, Ola Papior and Marie Spieldenner. How have you all worked together to bring the show to life?
In rehearsals we start by teaching the routines and then the acting bridges that every number has on either side of them. The priority for this show is that the story line is as impactful as the choreography – A long process but very rewarding. Especially when you have a cast like ours.
The show debuted in the US last year to sold out audiences. What was the response towards the show? Have you adapted the show since?
We’ve changed a lot. We used the San Francisco performance as a testing ground for some scenes to see if they land or not. John Graham and I are very excited to make changes. We are always trying to grow and evolve the project any time possible so our audience get to experience the best show we can give.
What can audiences expect from the production?
An explosive celebration of dance.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the production?
That hip hop theatre also belongs on the main stage! Fray has heart and nuances that are relatable to all types of people.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Fray will show from Monday 24th until Wednesday 26th a July at Wilton’s Music Hall. To find out more about the production, visit here…