10 July 2017
This dance piece created by Tracey Norman, Alison Daley, and the Half Second Echo company is a pure delight. The show explores the walls we throw up both in society and in our relationships, and the resulting conflicts, emotions, and expressions. The production consists of three dance pieces separated only by a few moments and transitions. The ensemble is extremely talented, and a pleasure to watch. The dancers work well on their own and together, at times evoking a sense of care and community, and at others revealing the frustration and pain that comes with running up against walls, literal and figurative, again and again. The narrative and movement balances the line between the abstract and concrete – at times I could follow what looked like a scene, and at others I got wrapped up in the raw feeling of the movement, everything from anxiety and deep frustration to relief and joy.
Earth Tourist (C+)
Created by Chandelier Factory Productions, Earth Tourist is about Sparklemuffin and her anxiety-ridden application process to escape the messy, difficult cycle of human life, death, and rebirth. In her procrastination of the application, Sparklemuffin argues with Clocklor, her friend (frenemy? soulmate?) who represents linear time. The show is fun and whimsical, and as an academic who spends too much time writing/avoiding applications, it was extremely relatable in how it made fun of the bureaucratic system that forces us to take our souls and calculate their value, and how it also poked fun at those of us lucky enough to pursue such disciplines tend to bristle at any attempt to summarize or categorize ourselves. The execution itself is a little stilted: Sheppard’s delivery could hit a few more notes, and speeding up the tempo could easily tighten the show up to everyone’s benefit. Overall the show makes a nice palette cleanser in between heavier options.
Caleigh Crow’s piece, HEXEN, is a tale of human history and struggle for humanity. Framed as a conflict between the feminine and the masculine, the emotional and the rational, this story is about the move from a symbiotic relationship to nature to one of instrumentalism and industry. If you are into nuance, this show is not for you – it’s half True-Blood levels of sexy melodrama combined with slightly simplistic allegory. Having said that, if this sounds like your thing then you will enjoy the intensity and abandon with which the performers throw themselves into the action. These ladies are entirely dropped into their bodies and their voices and commit one hundred percent to the story they are telling, something I wish we saw more often.
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