Metro Arts & Julie Vulcan

Metro Arts Basement

April 1 – 4 2014


Reviewed by Meredith McLean




We all take journeys in our lives. You might take a journey on the bus to work. You take a journey to the coast for a weekend away. Some of us go on personal journeys and find the tourist attractions of our own lives that help us change. When you close your eyes and dream, that is a different journey into the psyche all of its own. Sometimes we have a clear heading and know exactly where to go through these journeys. But people are afraid to admit most of the time we just drift along. Julie Vulcan’s durational performance encapsulates this in her experience called DRIFT.


Some journeys are clearer than others. Drift is not one of them. Prepare to be at first mystified, then petrified and finally unsatisfied. To be fair, each session of Drift offers something different so perhaps your experience would be different. But I can only share what I felt on my night drifting through on a strange vessel.


In the first phase, the mystification, we try to quietly tiptoe down the stairs into Metro Arts submerged basement theatre. The stage looks fragile and beautiful with the lights hanging about the rafters, and we are about to enter it. Lined up in the room are rows of beds covered in straw. Sure enough, it is our job to lie in them and wait.


During the phase of petrifaction, or perhaps a kinder word, purification, you are approached. You receive a strange edible bead in your mouth and Julie places wireless headphones on your head. Your mind is filled with ethereal music and voices. Meanwhile, Julie gives you a surprisingly relaxing hand massage. I found myself drifting off while she massaged my hand and filled my nostrils with sweet, hand oils. Once you have been completely mesmerised by this experience she covers you in a silvery space blanket and leaves you to rest.


And that’s all. After that you lie there, drifting in uncertainty, “Do I go?”, “Do I stay here?”, “What’s next?”. But that is all. This is what disappointed me. I was sure there was something else she could do. The experience was so odd and consuming, that once nothing else happened it was unsatisfying.


Quietly, we got up and we left with a small hand-made boat in our hand.


I’m still not sure of the point, or if there was supposed to be one. But I do know I would like to see more of this kind of theatre around Brisbane. It is odd and intriguing and bizarre. But ultimately, it is wonderful and shows amazing potential.


Go to Metro Arts to find more peculiar journeys to satisfy your curiosity.




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