Piece themed on vibrant member of 70s New York scene Klaus Nomi
It’s a play on words, but for most people the answer to this show’s title is probably ‘no, I don’t.’ To fill you in, Klaus Nomi was a vibrant member of the New York music and club scene in the late 70s and early 80s.
Known for his striking falsetto voice and distinctive make-up, Nomi released a number of singles and albums, until his untimely death from AIDS in 1983. Since then, both his name and back catalogue have disappeared into obscurity.
But German-born Nomi’s life and work are about to be resurrected, in a co-creation between choreographer Alan Greig and theatre director Grant Smeaton. Do You Nomi? is the first outing for Alan Greig Dance Theatre, formerly known on the Scottish dance scene as X Factor Dance.
‘Grant and I both felt that Klaus had an incredible voice,’ says Greig. ‘And he looked really unique, with his painted white face and black lips. Klaus didn’t just stand there and sing into a mic, he played a character and blended lots of things together -- rock, opera, pop, theatre, fashion, cabaret.’
True to Nomi’s legacy, Greig and Smeaton are also mixing things up by blending pure dance, scripted theatre, and dance and movement combined, recruiting two actors and two dancers for the task.
When it came to researching their vision, however, they found slim pickings. ‘There isn’t a lot out there,’ explains Greig. ‘We could only find one documentary and the pop videos, hardly anything has been written about him. He’s a forgotten pop star, and in a way that’s what attracted us to him -- it’s an interesting story, very much a rise and fall.’
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Fri 8 Feb, then touring