CHAMPIONS is a stonkingly good dance work … with the common touch.
It’s a large scale work with 11 dancers filling a field of dreams inside the vast space and it begins like any large scale sporting event with the team captain interview. Sports presenter, Mel McLaughlin, well known to viewers as one of the anchors of Seven’s Olympic coverage, is on the screen wall which dominates the upstage area of the arena. She is interviewing Carlee Mellow and we get a team update on the selections for today’s match.
Pre-game, a suitably comic and silly swan mascot has entertained the large and vocal crowd to a pounding pizzicato on the soundtrack and the audience is ready for the action. At interval she reappears in a circular lake of light … I loved that! There are cheers and claps as the players wander on with their yoga mats to warm up. In the same way that everyone’s a sports fan during the Olympics, this work begins with expert coverage to inform and guide us. Mellow and McLaughlin go through each dancer stats, temperament and what they bring to the line-up while a manufactured playing, smiling, concentrating image of each woman fills the screen.Continue reading FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
Jo Lloyd and Nicola Gunn’s MERMERMER has come straight from performances in Melbourne as part of Chunky Move’s Next Move season .
The audience eavesdrops on Lloyd and Gunn’s comic rambling stream of consciousness monologues developed from what they call Conversation Therapy, created while they prepared for their interactive performance at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of Melbourne NOW. The duo keep up physical and verbal conversations simultaneously throughout the show .
Char Soo, a video installation by Hossein Valamanesh, places us in a four-sided Iranian bazaar to contemplate movement, human interaction and the passing of time. Char Soo is a metaphor for Iran, a country which has been subject to invasion, religious and cultural interaction for centuries. This immersive four-screen video projection aims to place the audience at its centre.
This video installation is available for viewing at Carriageworks until July 17.
Part of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, The Embassy of Disappearance is being presented at Carriageworks. It includes works by artists exploring themes of absence and memory, including disappearing languages, histories, currencies and landscapes. The Embassy of Disappearance is a safe haven to contemplate these ideas of absence and memory. Opening night featured art and performances by Mike Parr, Neha Choksi and Alice Cummings.
Mike Parr’s performance was spectacular. In an outside area a square was covered in many linked charcoal drawings. A flammable liquid was poured over them and they were set alight, resulting in a large intense fire. This was a strong and ironic statement about global warming. Sydney Trains added to the irony when one of their trains went by with a “Hey Tosser, Put it in the Bin” advertisement. Continue reading THE EMBASSY OF DISAPPEARANCE @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
Tom Wait’s and Kathleen Brennan’s music and lyrics performed by a glorious band and sung by the talented actors of the Thalia Theatre, Hamburg is what I took most away from this exciting Sydney Festival production. Much of the music had a delightful Kurt Weill aesthetic, whilst other songs were just as pleasing but were in more traditional Tom Wait Americana territory.
Georg Buchner’s 1836 play, WOYZECK, has a surprisingly modern resonance with its themes of workplace alienation, despair, jealously and marginalised members of society not functioning in our world of economic rationalism and political expediency.
Franz Woyzeck (Felix Knopp) is a lowly soldier stationed in a provincial German town. Woyzeck earns extra money for his family by performing menial jobs for the Captain (Philipp Hochmair) and agreeing to take part in medical experiments conducted by the Doctor (Tilo Werner). Continue reading WOYZECK @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
Famous for assembling large numbers of bottle caps and various bits of aluminium attached with copper wire, Ghanaian-born artist El Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Working in Nigeria, his art is exhibited throughout the world including UK, USA, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Japan.
EL ANATSUI : FIVE DECADES is the first major retrospective shown in Australia. More than 30 works are displayed including ceramics, drawings, sculptures and woodcarvings alongside the representative large-scale installations. El purposely allows the curators freedom of installation. This means that each installation can be significantly different. El has said that if ‘art is life, life is not static and so art should be dynamic’. This allows opportunity for change and re-creation. At the micro level, discarded and damaged objects can be transformed into something new. Existence is fragile and transient. Continue reading EL ANATSUI : FIVE DECADES @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
Erth and their puppets are back! Having been several times to visit Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, we were looking forward to the latest incarnation.
Our host Drew- casually interacts with his audience as they settle. The target group, the younger audience, are encouraged to sit on the carpet area at the front before a ‘live’ giant screen that takes us into the prehistoric aquarium world.
Drew disarms and makes new friends. He is brightly coloured and his demeanour of the informal is also linked to his lack of real knowledge. Then as the show begins he is interrupted by Catherine the resident marine biologist to secure the facts. This attempt at layering the information is quite effective. Continue reading Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks→
FALLING WOMAN is the last major work in the Performance Space’s BURWAN (ISLAND) program at Carriageworks. Its five show season ends tonight.
FALLING WOMAN is an interdisciplinary work, a combination of physical theatre, and immersive video. It is a surreal fairy tale or perhaps a dark dream with the falling woman dragging her three legged chair through a bucolic Australian landscape. The tormented Falling Woman (Alice Osborne) comes upon The Witness (Regina Heilman); a mysterious stranger in gold shoes. For audience members, the Witness may be Mother, individual or societal Conscience or some other superior being or mind.
The work was created by Halcyon Macleod and theatre maker Alice Osborne. The acting and movement is beautiful and the theme intelligent. The falling woman’s fight for survival is set against video artist Sam James’ entrancing landscapes of rural NSW. Appropriately, the soundtrack performed live includes an instrument made from a discarded chair. Phil Downing (composer and sound designer) meets the challenge of this work and sustains the difficult journey.
The Falling woman is faced with obstacles which she attacks in a space where there appear to be no rules. The audience is forced to part and shuffle into tight spaces as she pushes through, almost oblivious to the affect she is having on those around. We are told that she has taken strong sleeping pills.
With the clash between the Falling Woman and the Witness, inevitably one of them has to be destroyed.
This is a beautiful yet harrowing work with at times a little too much going on.
It is rare that one gets the story of a great man told through the eyes of his family. This is currently happening at the Carriageworks.
THE FOX AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS is the story of Charles ‘Chicka’ Dixon – one of Australia’s foremost Aboriginal activists – told from the unique perspective of his daughter, Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, and granddaughter, Nadeena Dixon, with then help of playwright Alana Valentine. Continue reading The Fox and the Freedom Fighters→
January is a lazy languid time in Sydney, so it’s slightly unfair that the art lover’s idylls should be rudely interrupted – but in the best possible way – by the massive feast of cultural events that is the Sydney Festival.
Like a refreshing summer shower, some of the festival’s most appetising events are fleeting, lasting for only one or two nights; others, like a lingering heatwave, bask the greater Sydney region in their glow for weeks.
This year’s 179 events spread from the CBD to the Blue Mountains, 85 of them are free and there are almost 500 performances in total. Eight of them have exclamation marks in their title (one even has two!!) so expect some very exciting shows!
As always with the Sydney Festival, it’s best to get in early: by the time you hear about them they have may have vanished or sold out.