Left - Rosie Dennis’ Fraudulent Behaviour
The two performances that make up the double bill of Fraudulent Behaviour and 2 Dimensional Life of Her on offer at the Arts House Meat Market could not be more stylistically and conceptually different from one another. Yet, as a night out to the theatre, the combo provides a refreshing look at the variety on offer in Melbourne’s performance art scene.
Rosie Dennis’ Fraudulent Behaviour explores the politics of lies, or more specifically, the notion that we need lies to live; the latter an aphorism first uttered by Nietzsche. Though this is mostly a solo performance, she is joined on stage by a mallard decoy duck and an imaginary friend, both of which she converses with.
Dennis’ monologues are divided into several key stories, all of which tread unsteadily between fact and fiction. Her tales cover romantic relationships, some anecdotal material as well as the search for happiness and paradise. Her cleverly crafted stories build just enough anticipation to capture the audience and listening is the key ingredient to enjoying this show, as Dennis’ subtle deadpan and at times self-deprecating humour interjects at the least expected of times, providing the comedic aspect of the show.
There are a few notable touches to the minimalist set - a beautifully melancholic trumpet interlude by Simon Ferenci, Dennis’ use of props in an almost puppeteer-like way, and an evocative soundtrack that includes a Tom Waits song. Though her delivery flows like a night in with friends, there is not quite enough gusto in Fraudulent Behaviour and, admittedly, some punchlines have a lacklustre and underwhelming effect. Furthermore, there are moments in the show where the background music overwhelms Dennis’ monologues making the stories difficult to follow.
Fleur Elise Noble’s playful 2 Dimensional Life of Her is nothing short of a visual spectacle. Upon entering the venue the first thing that stands out is the stilted chaos, conveyed through a littered mess of shredded paper that fills the stage. Several upright screens, including a cardboard cut-out shaped as a person, are used to project images and videos onto, which combines puppetry, animation and drawing.
In many ways each ‘screen’ acts a window into which the audience voyeuristically peers. The world that is revealed is a dimension where an endless possibility of spaces, existing within spaces, is presented. It is a cheeky world and the artist herself makes an appearance in two-dimensional form, living within the same labyrinth-like world as the animated puppets.
The performance is brought to life with realistic soundscapes - the naturalistic recording of movements, footsteps or the sound of paper being torn apart. The unique 2 Dimensional Life of Her is a sophisticated and pleasantly quirky piece of art that showcases Noble as an adept user of multimedia technology and animation. Indeed, much of the success of the show rests on how striking the visuals are, but at the same time, without much of a storyline to follow - like everything you eventually become accustomed to - the projections aren’t quite enough to captivate from start to finish. As it stands, 2 Dimensional Life of Her is far from perfect; its overall merit rests in its evident potential.
Fraudulent Behaviour/2 Dimensional Life of Her
Venue: Arts House Meat Market | 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Dates: Thursday 12 - Sunday 15 August, 2010
Tickets: Single Play - Full $25; Concession $18 (Both Plays - Full $40; Concession $30)
Bookings: 03 9322 3713