20
Apr
16

Flaunt

Flaunt

Claire Marshall and Metro Arts

Metro Arts Sue Benner Theatre

April 13 – 16 2016

 

Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway

 

flaunt-image-1-resized_1280-600

The changes for women over the past 120 years have been significant … but are we there yet? Or are the current times of social media where women are socially conditioned to police each others’ ‘acceptable’ images a step back in time for women?

– Claire Marshall

 

The first version of Flaunt, by independent choreographer and director Claire Marshall, was shown in a season at the Brisbane Powerhouse in 2014. For the 2016 season at Metro Arts, Marshall has extensively reworked this piece, making it much richer, with its themes of gender construction, and cooperation and competition between women fully integrated with its theatricality.

 

Flaunt grabs the attention and doesn’t let it go.

 

It’s like a journey in a time machine, with a central figure (Amelia Stokes) appearing to be brought out of cryogenic storage to experience the lot of women in five different eras: the early 1900s, the 1950s, the 1970s, the 1980s and today.

 

flaunt7_1280-600

 

Both sound and costume design are by Marshall. Each era is accompanied by music from that time, with the sound design also effectively using layered words (such as ‘sexuality’, ‘freedom’, ‘fertility’) and spoken extracts, including a letter, and part of an academic paper about gender construction.
The costumes are simple, but effective: over short black pants and crop tops, the dancers don Edwardian ‘hobble’ skirts, 1950s full-skirted dresses, pastel chiffon 1970s evening dresses, clunky 80s jackets with shoulder pads, and for today, bright little tops teamed with blue wedge sandals.
In a clever device, different floor coverings, lined up in rolls at one side of the performance space, are spread over the floor to match the costume changes for each era. The other main feature of the set design (Frances Hannaway) was a frame, about medium-shed-size, of steel posts and cross-pieces.

 

flaunt2_1280-600

 

This framework echoed the theme of ‘construction’ of gender, while also resembling a cage, or part of a set in a circus or a nightclub. The dancers and the choreography made great use of it, climbing, vaulting through, swinging and hanging from it, as well as using it as a support to lean on or huddle against.
The sound, costume and performance show the restrictions suffered by women in every era. Their support for each other is contrasted with the cruelty of women towards others as they police their appearance and actions, and force them to conform.
This time there are three dancers instead of four: Essie Horn, Courtney Scheu, and Amelia Stokes (who was one of the cast in 2014). They all have strong individual presence, with Stokes a particularly magnetic performer. They showed courage and skill in their use of the frame, and dexterous management of the on-stage costume and floor-covering changes that were part of the performance.
The lighting (Michael Richardson) is dramatic and submerges the audience, as if we are in a club.
It was good to see this show again in its striking 2016 reincarnation.

 

 

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Flaunt”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: