As the audience arrives, the set looks interesting, the anticipation builds and a woman walks slowly, deliberately across the stage. The first show on the double bill is called We Could Live Here. I don’t know why.
Infantile talk and behaviour, apple peeling, apple cutting, tea drinking, toy playing, floor sweeping and tap dancing; there seemed to be no coherency or natural order to the events which occurred. There was certainly no clear plot to speak of. Not that theatre needs a plot, but there seemed to be nothing for the audience to grab hold of, nothing to demonstrate purpose or premise.
What was the piece actually about?
I could guess. I could suggest it was about women feeling like they need men? Women wanting men? Women suppressing their wants or needs? People needing people? People wanting people who exist in their mind or on TV or film, like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers? It could have been all of these things. Or none of them. Was it relevant, provocative, amusing or mildly entertaining? To be honest, I’m not sure.
The piece was an expression of some kind, many thoughts condensed into a performance occasionally visually interesting with a superb sound track. Perhaps I wasn’t the target market, but I felt excluded, like the audience was being told a private joke I didn’t get.
“If you can’t dance with a man like that, better to dance alone”, the last line (excuse me if it’s not word perfect), and the two women find some kind of inner personal strength or strength from being with each other. Perhaps that’s what the show was about? And then it ended.
Given a brief interval, I would have stayed, but being told it would be a 45 minute break until the second half of the double bill, which advertised itself in the programme as being a ‘work in progress’, I was not enticed to endure another underdeveloped esoteric piece of performance art.
The piece does make one question: what is art, what is its purpose and what is its value? How do expectations affect the experience of witnessing a performance? I certainly expected to think about something, feel something or witness something I hadn’t seen or thought of before. Perhaps having any expectations is unfair and a more open-minded approach would have provided a more satisfying experience.
Two Little Spiels: A Double Bill
Venue: Cafe Coco
Dates: 1 - 11 Oct 2008
Times: We Could Live Here at 7.30pm
A Preamble at 9.00pm Excluding 5th, 6th, 7th
Tickets: Preview $08.00, Conc $10.00, Full $12.00, Other $20.00
Bookings: Festival Tix: 03 9660 9666 or www.melbournefringe.com.au
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