Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Home » Reviews » MIAF »
Kagemi: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors
Written by Lola MacMillan   
Friday, 19 October 2007 08:00
Kagemi: Beyond the Metaphors of MirrorsPhotos - Jacques Denarnaud

As part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Japanese butoh company Sankai Juku is making its Melbourne debut with Kagemi: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors. Founded by performer Ushio Amagatsu, this company is presenting Melbourne audiences with a sumptuous, visceral feast of movement, beauty and emotion.

Inspired by ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging, Kagemi is a revelatory dance piece, which seemingly presents the layers of life below the surface of what we usually see, while simultaneously masking what lies beneath the surface of the performers’ seemingly effortless movements. Kagemi invites the audience to surrender to the feeling and to the resonance of this meditative and ultimately uplifting work.

This is truly a gorgeous piece of theatre. As I would expect of butoh, the dancers’ movements are marked by both grace and vigour, the choreography is both contemplative and playful and the set is exact and stunning. Each performer displays an extremely impressive control over movement and performance. Complex costuming is given the illusion of simplicity and the sound, a blend of western and eastern influences, is enveloping. As is traditional in butoh, the performers have shaven heads and are covered in white chalk. The effect of this initially strips the performers of their individuality, but it quickly becomes evident that the effect actually enhances differences between the performers allowing for individual personalities to be revealed.

I have always found butoh to be an exciting performance style and this production is certainly no exception. Butoh has its origins in Japan in the 1960s, where it was developed as a response to war and to the violence of men. Butoh traditionally sought to express a means of ‘grounding’ man in the beauty of the earth (Sankai Juku is an all-male company). Company founder, choreographer and principle performer Ushio Amagatsu has further adapted this, always evolving, performance style with a combination of Japanese traditions and European influences.

Kagemi: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors feels faultless and is very well suited to the State Theatre. The attention to detail is creditable and enthralling, as the production invites audiences to yield to a profoundly beautiful and moving experience.

The audience response on opening night was rapturous, and deservedly so.

Sankai Juku is an experience not to be missed by those with a willingness to acquiesce and be enveloped. It is both an experience of revelatory movement theatre and a representation of art that is simultaneously insightful, humorous, surprising and beautiful.


Melbourne International Arts Festival presents
Kagemi: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors
Sankai Juku

Venue: the Arts Centre, State Theatre
Dates: Thu 18 – Sat 20 Oct at 7.30pm
Duration: 1hr 30min no interval
Tickets: Premium $84.50 / A Reserve Full $65 / A Reserve Groups (8+) $58.50 / A Reserve Conc $48.75
B Reserve Full $52 / B Reserve Conc $39 / B Reserve Student $22 / C Reserve Full $36 / C Reserve
Conc $27 / C Reserve Student $22 / School Groups $12
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 136 166 | www.melbournefestival.com.au
Pin It

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy
 
PozibleAustralian Stage JobsMembers Area
 

Most Read

Most Read Reviews

Into the Woods | Victorian Opera
While it is clear that we are in for a fairy-tale with some very familiar characters, it soon becomes apparent that this is...
The Magic Flute | West Australian Opera
WA Opera’s re-staging of Opera Australia’s 1986 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is simply a delight to experience.
The Myth Project: Twin | Arthur
Describing itself as ‘a mix of opera-noir, cabaret and naturalistic drama’, The Myth Project: Twin is a surreal circular so...
Guys and Dolls | The Production Company
Now in its sixteenth year, the Production Company continues to dazzle and entertain musical theatre devotees by performing...
New Voices | Matthew Robinson
Is labeling Matthew Robinson a wunderkind an inaccurate title? Fame, recognition and awards seem relatively new to him but,...

Most Read News

2014 Helpmann Awards Nominations Announced
Nominations for the 2014 Helpmann Awards have been announced – we have the full list of nominees
Ralph Myers to step down as Belvoir Artistic Director
Ralph Myers today announced his intention to step down as Artistic Director of Belvoir at the end of the 2015 Season after fi...