Presented by Karul Projects, Shifting > Shapes is a mix of mockumentary video and dance that takes an amusing look at people who claim to be shifters combined with the heritage of Aboriginal Australia’s dreamtime. The short video that introduces the piece is a piss-take featuring three people who talk of their shape-shifting abilities, the challenges they face, and the pitfalls of being a shape shifter. Yes, we laugh, they are very competitive in their zeal to uncover their inner animal, but they also find commonalities – two of the shifters have a shared love of fish. There is no doubt of their commitment to their beliefs, even when we don’t find anything to support these beliefs.
When Taree Sansbury takes the stage though, we are in no doubt of her skills. She brings to life the story of the Rainbow Serpent, and abandons a struggle to retain human form mid-way. Her performance is imbued with a grace and fluidity, you can almost see the shimmer of the scales as Sansbury looks for a tribe for the snake. The dance is further enhanced by clever lighting by Gigi Gregory that lit her both in silhouette and in shadow, both had a striking effect. The end result was stunning, the precision of the choreography was matched with a soundscape that provided another narrative in addition to subtle music throughout.
Collaborator and Performer: Taree Sansbury
Thomas E S Kelly (Chorographer & Composer), Gigi Gregory (lighting design), Kip Lee (operator).
Video Performers: Libby Montilla, Natalie Pelarek & Jess Holman.
Fem Menace by Fishhook
The stages and outrages that women will go through and experience in the course of a lifetime, both willingly and unwillingly, are explored in Fem Menace, it is also about the monster that exists in women, and the experience of being both scary and being scared. The opening of Fem Menace had a ‘Take back the Night’ feel to it with an overt female sexuality that, as an act of empowerment, is fun and kicks the show off in an energetic burst.
The subsequent sequences are both powerful and confusing. A bride and a birth both initially provide tableaus of the more traditional before they derail, another tableau a possible reminder of the female domestic odyssey that demands a remedy. The repeated message in the beginning of this piece reiterates what women everywhere still struggle with: being misunderstood and facing fear, discrimination and violence and the fear that we feel ourselves and wish to conquer, sometimes with elaborate retribution. Fem Menace is a potent piece on our sometimes contradictory wishes and it is a consistently bold expression of these wishes.
Creator & Performer: Cheryn Frost
Co-creators & Performers: Cath McNamara & Tahlee Kiandra Leeson
Gigi Gregory (lighting design), Stephen Kendrick (sound design), Kip Lee (operator).
This is the final Afterglow production for 2017, and it is on at Pact Theatre, Erskineville until 25 November, for more information and tickets see: http://www.pact.net.au/whats-on/2017/11/23/thomas-es-kelly-and-cheryn-frost
above image by Carla Zimbler.