As you might guess from a title as lyrical and expressive as I Left My Shoes On Warm Concrete and Stood In The Rain, in this dance piece often the words are just as important as the choreography. We are introduced to the show in total blackout; just the dark and the words for your mind to run over. Gabrielle Nankivell’s choreography flows through with the same poetry as the dialogue.
At times, Nankivell’s body seems to distort, toes, ankles and knees moving in opposition, seemingly cutting against her skin. Other times, she swiftly lifts through the air, landing with an immediate cut into another direction: body moving tightly along unseen planes.
As Nankivell scoops through the air, seemingly thickened as her limbs push against and through it in resistance, her hair seems to almost become a character of its own. Fiercely fiery red, it shocks against the white set, black surrounds, and Nakivell’s dark clothing.
I Left My Shoes On Warm Concrete and Stood In The Rain moves through themes of individual survival – bear attacks, elevators falling, war, relationships – without weighing up the importance, or perhaps the hurt and fear, that can be seen in each. Nankivell plays with humour of the text and her choreography in dialogue alongside deeper darkness and pathos.
Luke Smiles’ soundtrack is itself an integral character to the work. From simple single note piano keys and gently humming strings slowly building upon themselves, drawing out a low intensity, through to fast paced electronic percussive beats, occasionally drawing in on the recorded poetry, the soundscape moves throughout the theatre.
Similarly, the lighting is a necessary factor, and Benjamin Cisterne’s use of dark is just as important as his use of light, with the show bookended in immersive blackouts, also appearing in the production, both pulling attention to the dialogue, and providing space for thought around the words. The dynamism of lighting moves the work’s episodes through space and time: from the open spaces of bright white lights, to misty fogs seen through yellow and shadow, and the pulsing strobe of the warm rain.
More gently flowing than arresting: my thoughts swam in and around the text and performance, sometimes absorbing every word and every step, sometimes drifting out and relaxing into the performance. It is the combination of the design elements; the combination of textual and physical poetry; and the combination of engagements from which I Left My Shoes On Warm Concrete and Stood In The Rain draws its strength: a piece on individual survival, which in fact relies on the elements of its creators and its audience to survive itself.
Adelaide Festival Centre and Mobile States presents
I Left My Shoes On Warm Concrete And Stood In The Rain
Created & performed by Gabrielle Nankivell
Venue: Space Theatre | Adelaide Festival Centre
Dates: 24 - 27 August 2011
Times: Wednesday & Friday 6pm Thursday & Saturday 8.30pm
Tickets: Adult $30, Concession $26
Duration: 50 Minutes