Photo - Heidrun Lohr
Force Majeure’s third major work, The Age I’m In, is a gentle yet evocative exploration of the human body and mind throughout the aging process. Its short, sold out Brisbane season only served to further cement Kate Champion and her company as leaders of contemporary dance theatre in Australia. Yet the production resides neither wholly in the realm of dance nor theatre, but creates its own visual and aural landscape of intermingled movement, words and technology.
The cast of 10 performers ranging from teenage to seventy-something compose an unusual group dynamic, and the knowledge that not all are dancers or actors immediately imbues the emotional landscape with a sense of honesty. Their roles are depicted through movement sequences rich in contact work and gestural dances. This sophisticated choreography creates strong dramatic narratives and is a credit to Kate Champion and her cast; it is not often that dance theatre is executed with such clarity and simplicity.
Spoken dialogue forms much of the soundscape, drawn primarily from interviews with members of the Australian public. The beauty of the spoken word is in the lip-synching by mismatched characters, an older woman’s voice comes from the teenage boy; male and female stories mingle. Fluent precision in the miming and physical expression of the speech makes the storytelling seamless, and also weaves a soft, surreal thread between the scenes.
Further setting this show apart in innovation is the use of hand held video screens, operated by the performers and manipulated across their own bodies, showing images of themselves, or another’s skin. The screens come together to create larger pictures then break away with a smooth effortlessness that belies the rehearsed accuracy of each piece. Credit for this design concept goes to Geoff Cobham who has worked on sets and lighting for all of Force Majeure’s productions to date.
Everyone in the audience has a moment during The Age I’m In in which they can find themselves, or someone they know, on the stage. The affecting nature of the performance is in the truth of its humanity, and the universal empathy it draws upon. Delicate yet powerful, the themes are handled with intelligence while maintaining accessibility to viewers of any age. One cannot help but leave the theatre in a poignant but beautiful state of reverie.
Force Majeure presents
THE AGE I’M IN
Directed by Kate Champion
Venue: Performance Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
Dates: Tuesday 4 - Wednesday 5 May 2010
Tickets: Full $35, Concession $30
Bookings: 07 3872 9000 | judithwrightcentre.com