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Review 2, 11-14: A Room for Fairy Tales
Company in Space Beguiles
By Chloe Smethurst
Copyright 2002 Chloe Smethurst
MELBOURNE -- "The Light
Room," a new work by the ensemble Company in Space directed by Helen
Sky, is set in what could have been the interior of an ethereal
glass castle, the sort of house where dreams and fairy tales are
played out. Seen October 24 at the Melbourne Museum, it was an ideal
canvas for the beguiling choreographic scene set by the five performers,
and illuminated by brilliant lighting and visual work.
It is as much a room
of memories as it is of light, as our narrator, Margaret Cameron,
gives voice to the images that pervade the space. Her rambling soliloquy
seems to come from a woman recollecting disjointed fragments from
her past, and as with the other elements of the performance, is
abstract enough to allow room for the audience to wonder and put
together their own version of the story.
A library, three French
coins, a beach -- Margie Medlin's visual projections procure different
worlds from the static space the performers inhabit. The glass walls,
catwalk and stairs of the set turn opaque when covered with Medlin's
digital landscapes, only to have the illusion broken again when
a performer interrupts the vision, transferring the projection to
Heightening this stimulation
of the imagination and the senses are the soaring vocals of Alan
Widdowson. So well integrated is his performance, Widdowson shifts
effortlessly between opera and movement, interacting with and enhancing
all elements of the composition with his skill.
Dancing with subtlety
and consideration, Rebecca Hilton, Ros Warby and Michael Whaites
explore the space as one would a childhood house revisited. In duos
and solos, the dancers further encourage the imagination along paths
opened by the narrator and the projected images. Whilst the choreography
was engaging, due to the nature of dance it could only add to the
imagery already being employed in the work, not help us to understand
the text. It is both the most fascinating and the most confusing
aspect of this piece that nothing is literal, nothing falls into
a neat narrative line.
The dream-like castle
and its inhabitants conjured in "The Light Room" were beautiful
to watch, to listen to, to experience. The interweaving of art forms
was quite successful, with each on an equal footing, each giving
the piece its unique performance gifts. And although the work took
us on a winding path, it was a most enjoyable wander.
Chloe Smethurst is a freelance contemporary dancer and teacher
from Melbourne. She has worked with TasDance and Frances D'Ath's
Zero Ballet since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts
in 2001. She was recently the recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant
from the Australia Council for the Arts and is hoping to continue
her practice into the future.
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