Jonathan Goddard on The Mother: 'Arthur Pita has got quite a dark imagination, and this is very much in his territory'
- Kelly Apter
- 14 November 2018
Playing various incarnations of Death, the contemporary dancer discusses the new production inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen tale
When it comes to blurring the line between acting and dancing, it would be hard to imagine a better dream team than the one behind The Mother.
A former principal with the Bolshoi and Royal Ballet, Natalia Osipova is known world-wide for her strong characterisation. Contemporary dancer Jonathan Goddard has performed with Scottish Dance Theatre, Richard Alston Dance Company and Rambert, winning multiple awards including Outstanding Male Performance for his role as Dracula with Mark Bruce Company. Choreographer/director, Arthur Pita moved from dancing with Matthew Bourne to creating his own, highly narrative works.
Osipova and Goddard have already worked on several projects together, building an on-stage chemistry that will serve them well here. 'I really enjoy dancing with her,' says Goddard. 'When you're working with somebody who has that kind of dramatic ability it's really exciting, because then it's not just about technique, it goes to a different level. I think we push each other as well, which is really nice.'
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Story of the Mother, this new production won't be your average Christmas fare.
'Arthur has got quite a dark imagination, and this is very much in his territory,' says Goddard. 'Natalia plays a mother whose child is very sick and Death comes to the door and takes the child away. She chases after them, and along the way meets various incarnations of Death – some male, some female – who ask her to do different things. And I play all those incarnations.'
Swapping genders and identities throughout the show, Goddard has his work cut out – but will have a little help from his footwear. 'I wear very high shoes for some of them,' he says, 'which completely changes the way you move. But there's much more to it than that, the costumes definitely help but you find other ways to change your physicality.'
Pleasance at EICC, Edinburgh, Fri 21–Sat 22 Dec.