Blue Print | Deborah PollardA whoosh of fiery light and sound rushes at the audience, and is gone. A long silence ensues, punctuated by projected text on a screen far away at the back of the stage. A door frame is then painstakingly etched onto the screen, setting an elegiac pace and mood.

Blue Print is a new work by director/performer Deborah Pollard – an “artistic response” to the 2003 Canberra bush fires that burned her family home to the ground. It combines audio from interviews, live performance and visual representations of loss to create a stirring documentary performance.

Blue Print consists mainly of Pollard meticulously marking out the floor plan of the house on the stage in sand. She navigates this created space carefully and with a sense of familiarity, entering through its doorways and trotting down its stairs. Enclosed in this ‘blueprint’ are objects of symbolic importance to the home – including a doily, kitchen canisters and pot plants. The construction of the blueprint itself is also symbolic, as the impermanent sand turns to ashes, merely to be swept away. As she deliberately marks out each wall, door and passageway, the image is shown in aerial view,reinforcing the symbol of the blueprint as something that is immediately readable yet in this case exists only in the memories of the people who inhabited its bricks-and-mortar counterpart.

In this work, Pollard places importance and emphasis on the visual, lingering on moments and tableaux as memories she doesn’t want to let go. These tropes are often drawn out painfully, such as the harrowing and futile attempts of the three firemen to right a dead horse. This is a thoughtful and deliberate piece, which, although slow moving, engages evocatively with visual and sonic artefacts. In a way, it is more visual art installation than performance, as the visuals are foregrounded and text used only as a backup to the storytelling.

Gail Priest’s visceral and disturbing soundtrack evokes the uneasy nature of these themes, as we are made to reflect on our on sense of home, and the memories we would keep should anything happen to it. A growing sense of emergency is created in her soundscapes, along with a paradoxical sense of inevitability.

Blue Print’s ruminations on loss, history, memory and disaster are at once confronting and melancholy. It is a beautiful piece, distinctive in its careful and slow pacing, and in the symbolic visual nature of its storytelling. In the end, even the blueprint is erased, and all that remains in the vast space are the memories.

Deborah Pollard
Blue Print

Venue: Performance Space @ CarriageWorks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
Dates/Times: 26-27 Oct Fri-Sat 8pm & 31 Oct–4 Nov Wed–Sat 8pm Sun 5pm
Tickets: $30/$25/$20 + BF* Student Rush Wed + Thur All Tix $12
Artist Talk: Wed 31 Oct (following the show)
Bookings: , 02 9209 4614, moshtix outlets

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