18 August 2018
Café Sarajevo episode 1 (A+)
A surprising diversion from the usual SummerWorks lineup, Café Sarajevo is a live SummerWorks LAB podcast discussing the nature of humanity, the implacable human spirit, the importance of language and the heartbreaking struggles of war. Inspired by a famous debate between Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky, this performance is part presentation, with visual aids and beautifully-wrought personal tales of one Bosnian woman’s experience during the bloody conflict between Serbians and Croatians in the early 90’s. With snippets of the debate pouring into the headphones provided, and the 360 degree photos played on small headsets given to the audience, one feels immersed in the culture and the city of Sarajevo itself and inextricably tangled in unfolding story.
Aisha of Is (B+)
Performed and written by Aisha Sasha John, this piece is a snapshot into a writer’s beautiful mind that is articulate as to its own limitations, frustrations, strengths and victories. The strength and conviction conveyed by Aisha is gritty and unapologetic – spoken word intermingles with visceral physical dance and projected imagery in a breathtaking blend that is riveting. Aisha projects her art though her whole being and it’s difficult to look away.
Truthteller is a blend of bizarre, beautiful, and poignant. The sole performer Eroca Nicols winds and weaves her way through the audience, who have been directed to sit in a specific part of the room based on how much touching they consent to from her whilst wearing green lengths of fabric with holes cut out for the eyes – she gleefully hugs, rolls over, and cuddles with some, and with equal measures lightly high-fives or lightly waves her arms over those less inclined. The strong audience participation gives an ephemeral uniqueness to each performance. Nicols exposes herself and the making of the piece itself with a rawness, a realness, that is refreshing if at times appearing disjointed and randomized.
KATIMAJUIT (B) & one for five (C)
The first performance in this SummerWorks LAB double bill blends together beautiful Inuit throat singing performed by Malaya Bishop and Jenna Bloomfield, accompanied by live instrumentals and audio-sensing technology projected behind them. Short and sweet, it was a auditory peek into a rare artform, though the presence of the singers on stage neither added nor detracted from the experience.
one for five seemed more aimless than one would hope for in a performance – the dancers traced what seemed to be a series of squiggles in tape on the floor, which turned out to be a map of their choreography. It’s a trope that has been done better by others, though there was enjoyable symbolism where they peeled the tape back up and through shared movements crunched it all into a ball. Lots of work to be done for this one.
The Reckoning (D)
Although comedic at times, this performance seemed ramshackle, poorly coordinated and utterly bizarre in a way that made it difficult to enjoy. From wearing smoked hams on her hands, to loudly burping for literally five minutes while spitting all over the floor, Eroca Nicols seemed unhinged, unfocused and utterly incomprehensible. As with her other performance in Truthteller (the more enjoyable of the two), the audience was forced at one point to wait while she rested silently on the floor. Art is relative, and performance art more so, but this was a total mess.
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