Posts Tagged ‘power

22
Nov
14

Flaunt

 

 

Flaunt

Brisbane Powerhouse & Claire Marshall Projects

In association with Metro Arts

Brisbane Powerhouse

November 18–22 2014

 

Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway

 

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We are exploring women’s gender, sexuality and power, and how it can be ‘socially inscribed’ on the body …

Claire Marshall, Director/Choreographer

 

Before the first performance of Flaunt, Powerhouse Artistic Director Kris Stewart made a short, impassioned speech about the Powerhouse’s support for independent dance artists such as Director/Choreographer Claire Marshall and her group of dancers. This support is partly funded by the drinks you buy at the Powerhouse, so drink up, everyone!

 

Flaunt opens with a woman climbing a ladder onto the roof of a metal-framed structure. She writhes and poses there. Later three others appear and two women manipulate the limbs of the others. The end of the work recapitulates these moments.

 

In between are a number of other short scenes. The women struggle to escape from behind a glass screen, on which images of sultry-looking formally dressed women are projected. They walk in the strange crossed-over way that models do, they pose and pout, and do some pole dancing moves, using the uprights of the shelter. At another point, the feel is of a nightclub, with very loud, pounding electronic sound. The soundtrack also features a robotic female voice discoursing on gender and sexuality.

 

In a creepy sequence, the dancers manipulate shop mannequins and dismember them. The cross-section of the bottom half of one mannequin is blood-red.

 

In her program notes, Marshall says the work is ‘about women and power’ – but only sexual power is on display here, and competition between women. The women appear to be trapped by their gender and sexuality, managing occasionally to break out and escape. The ladder offers a way out, but it’s narrow, and can take only one person at a time.

 

The overall impression of the design (Frances Hannaway) is of darkness, and entrapment – overlaid with allure. The costumes were mainly black and silver – dark silver leggings and black tops for the opening scene, clear plastic tops with crisscrossed strips of black, transparent white skirts that looked like organza, and dark silver tops with black bike shorts. They suited the dancers, and had a welcome elegance contrasting with the dark themes of the work.

 

The dancers (Mariana Parizo, Miranda Zeller, Amelia Stokes, Kirri Webb) were strong and athletic, demonstrating a power that their characters in this piece are denied. The strength of the movement, combined with the pouting and posturing that reproduce some of the stereotyped sexualised images of women, results in an uneasy mix of voyeuristic appeal, parody, and critique.

 

Flaunt is an hour long, with no interval. Sometimes the time dragged, and at others the work was absorbing. Final show tonight 7pm.

 

03
Jun
12

Knee Deep

Knee Deep

Casus

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art

2nd – 9th June 2012

Reviewed by Michelle Bull

Earlier this year I saw a little taster performance of Casus’s Knee Deep at an Adelaide Fringe Festival event and since that moment I have been waiting impatiently for it to come home to Brisbane so I might see the whole show. Well the moment came last night and it was everything I’d hoped it would be.

Comprising of performers from Circa, Polytoxic and The Flying Fruit-Fly Circus; Casus is Jessie Scott, Natano Fa’anana, Emma Serjeant and Lachlan McAulay. Together these dynamic young performers create the embodiment of contemporary circus performance as they combine their outstanding individual talents with a strong sense of ensemble and a childlike sense of play.

Complemented by live projection, onstage cameras and a killer musical score, the performers communicated each movement with sensitivity, tenderness and raw skill, making for a captivating performance that explored and challenged the capabilities of the human body.

Off the back of seeing productions that relied heavily on words and sound to communicate, Knee Deep was a slap in the face as to how much can be said through physical language, as the exploration and discovery of each performers strengths and limitations had the audience gasping and applauding simultaneously.

Communicating ideas of freedom, release, relationships, trust, grace, power, strength and comedy, in Knee Deep circus tricks became more than an execution of technical skill, they seemed to take on a voice of their own, as the performers played with tempo, energy and colour to create shapes and lines evoking pin-dropping silences and emotional responses from the audience.

Using silks and trapeze to create lines and shapes that could only be described as dangerously elegant, the fluidity and softness of each performer showed no sign of strain or the inherent strength required, instead they exuded a gracefulness and ease that was astounding. The minimalistic set and tastefully basic yet effective use of lighting was the perfect accompaniment this, adding mood to the responsive and stripped back nature of the production. Lighting was also used as an active element of the performance as Casus incorporated its effects to add dimension and depth to the artistic visual; suspended shapes highlighted as their shadow stretched far beyond the physical.

The use of eggs as a reoccurring theme throughout the production added emphasis and an element of danger, as well as acting as inspiration for a chuckle or two when Serjeant appears with a hammer!

Small slivers of narrative helped to create context, but were secondary to the exceptional onstage relationships between the performers, whose seamless transitions, strong physical communication and combined explorations were a lesson in stagecraft no matter what your discipline.

I urge everyone to go and see this show. Travelling far beyond mere strength and entertaining tricks, Casus’ Knee Deep is contemporary circus art at it’s finest.

Book your tickets because the buzz surrounding this show is sure to mean a sellout season!