LIVEWORKS at the PERFORMANCE SPACE at CARRIAGEWORKS.
I paid up my $50 to become a member and join in the exploration of a season “of intimate events in and around the vast spaces of Carriageworks.” 50 bucks well spent. It is a bit like having a degustation at a restaurant. Some of it is great, layered with sensations, some of it is unpalatable but all of it is interesting even in the negatives. It is an adventure. Congratulations to Fiona Winning and her team and guests/artists.
I saw DUAL on the Friday night. A piece of dance by Nalina Wait. This was a nicely conceived work. The dance movements and patterns tantalisingly interesting in its explorations. It was danced against a v-shaped space with arresting sound by Gail Priest. Natlina Wait inhabited her material in a completely expressive manner. I was absorbed. Her partner in the piece was less assured and so less interesting. This seemed to be work in progress and is certainly interesting enough to pursue.
Saturday afternoon booked to attend THE TENT (Only 20 people at a time.) THE TENT is a work by Matt Prest. "Hand built out of scrap metal and old truck canvas," one arrives in a location in an unrenovated part of the Carriageworks and are invited to cross and enter the space where there are 20 camping chairs of different types. We are offered blankets to keep warm and are served, if you want, a beef stew with very chunky vegetables, while our "host" tells us his history with the tent and his mate who lives there, Brett. It is told to us via a pre-recorded tape, film, puppetry and performance. The first thing to say is the smell, atmosphere and accouterments of the interior of the tent brought back flooding and comfortable memories of my own cubby house under my parents place. I loved it. The performance work by Matt Prest himself as our guide into this world is far too self conscious for me to believe. It is an actor acting, it belies the reality of the design. The puppetry (Clare Britton) is as beguiling as puppetry nearly always is for me. Except the details of the puppeteer distract me. 1. The face is bare and has untidy hair flopping about. 2. The feet of the puppeteer are in black nylon stockings and I can see the white/pink of her toes through the material (Where were her black socks I inwardly screamed) and 3. worse, when she turns her back and bends to pick something up she revealed a gaping expanse of white back between the black sweater and the pants. Illusion broken by clumsy, small details of neglect. The text itself is relatively underdeveloped. It begins to enter a debate about philosophy and science and goes nowhere near its tantalising potential. The last time I was engaged with such a pleasant variety of artistic inputs was MY DARLING PATRICIA a few years ago.
WE SEE FIREWORKS comes from Helen Cole. This was the most bewildering experience for me. We entered a very dark space. We sat down and then, some badly recorded memories of other people’s remarkable theatre going experiences were broadcast to us. I felt it was like a time in my long past or just that morning when I turned on the radio. The difference is that the Radio material had had some managing. Some of my companions were delighted but I was simply left gob smacked at the sheer of audacity of the offer as Art. Collecting stories on tape and playing them in a darkened space did not seem to me a big enough effort to persuade me to any other contemplation than this is fraudulent behaviour!!!!!!
Oddly, the next piece I saw was called FRAUDULENT BEHAVIOUR. This is as the artist Rosie Dennis declares, work processing or work in process. Here was a performer/raconteur who looks at the world and observes it exquisitely and then constructs poetry/prose to communicate her take on it. Rosie Dennis is quirky, witty, compassionate and more, everything one would want from a human being. She makes you happy to be with her. The dancing, the organising of her presentation, her props, her stories, her sheer beauty is a glorious thing to experience. Such a relief after the disembodied voices in a dark space of WE SEE FIREWORKS. I could relate in a way that was considerate of me, the audience. It seemed I was important to her to be there rather than a trapped listener in a dark room.
The last piece that I saw was the best. One of the sublime experiences of my theatre going. TARKOVSKY’S HORSE. A dance solo by Peter Fraser. The lucid subtlety and pensive grace of the dance and the dancer was breathtaking and totally captivating. It was worth the whole of my $50 dollars.
I got more than I hoped for from the effort of enduring a frightful wet Sydney day, dealing with the public transport system and even bearing with Carriageworks that couldn’t manage to serve food to a quite big audience. Hospitality is not on their list of priorities it seems. Alcohol, as much as you can afford but real food, NO. I nearly went back to THE TENT just to get some more beef stew.
I mustn’t forget to mention the slightly creepy art of Roza Ilgen in the foyer called IN MY SHOES. Making shoes out of human hair was just a little to fetishistic for me to contemplate participating in, in bright daylight.!!!!
I had a great feast of live events at LIVEWORKS.