Carl Knif’s solo RED is an intimate portrait of an individual struggling with an inner red alert. It is a performance about extremes – not always dramatic, but full of personal courage.

“I thought that a colour as the starting point to a performance would give me great freedom and countless possibilities for exploring and researching. Although this is true, during the process I noticed, to my surprise, that the colour also challenges, steers and draws guidelines. So I’ve travelled from the original idea, an architectonic space with abstract movement and explicit lighting, towards personal themes, a private space, far back to a time of memories and experiences.

The performance is about extremes. You could call them emergencies of emotion. At times, it’s about life and death but mostly about life. I look at this performance as a map. I’ve taken a red marker pen and pointed out some moments in my life that have felt really meaningful, or the opposite, lost all their meaning. These moments are not always dramatic. Sometimes I feel that in our everyday lives we always dance on a knife-edge. Above all, the red colour symbolises willpower, authority and courage. And this is why, in this performance, I want to bring up themes that feel sore.” 

“Carl Knif’s achingly intimate work is beautifully precise, courageous and ultimately very joyful. There is human struggle, but there is also our courage, and through the sharing of some of his own red alerts, Knif reaches out to the audience and lets us know we are not alone.” Robert Dow, 2016

Choreography: Carl Knif
Dance: Carl Knif
Light design: Jukka Huitila
Sound design: Janne Hast
Costume design: Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila
Production: Carl Knif Company & Zodiak – Centre for New Dance, 2014
Language: Swedish or English
Duration: 40 min

RED has toured in the following countries: China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Scotland and South Korea.

Outstanding stuff from Finland’s Carl Knif. Poetic text and unusual, arresting choreography combine in an elliptical existential meditation. Although dealing with Carl’s journey in coming out, it also reaches out to everyone about the courage to be who you are. Candles held in fingers and toes suggest a séance, as he recalls moments of ‘red alert’. Red is also a symbol for courage, but the piece is very much about fear, hatred and loneliness when courage fails. Strobe lighting graphically illustrates this by breaking up the dancer’s swinging arms like knife-blades as fear holds him back, or conversely, opening wings flying to freedom.” Stephanie Green and Mark Harding. The Skinny, 2016.

RED is still available for touring.

See also

Carl Knif Company has been nominated for Theatre of the Year 2023

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