Thursday, October 20, 2005

Play Fighting


Have you ever been kicked in the head by a dancer?

I haven't but I was set to pondering this question on Saturday evening. The show was Shelley Lasica's Play in a Room, the venue was the very plain State Theatre Rehearsal Room at the Arts Centre. There was a sense of urgency upon approach as my co-patrons and I dashed from the Black Box Artist's Lounge (where no one had been checking our passes to see if we were allowed entry) to the dank bowels of the Arts Centre, passing ushers and staff who whipped out walkie-talkies into which they spat dramatic phrases: "We've got three more!"..."Hold the doors!"..."This is Jack Bauer, get me the president! I don't have time to explain, dammit!".

When we hit the floor (which is where we had to sit, being latecomers and all) the show kicked off, although it wasn't a good twenty minutes until the first potential head-kick arrived. The show itself features about a dozen dancers under Lasica's guiding hand, but their skills and styles are so different that it doesn't really add up to a coherent piece. It's another step in a developing work which has been going through various permutations for half a decade now, adding dancers and sequences and altering earlier ones. I'm not sure what the through-line is, and as some reviews have put it, it kind of makes you feel like you're on the outside of a conversation trying to pick up what others are talking about. I couldn't really get that much of what was underscoring the show, but there was plenty of good stuff, especially the bits featuring the always-impressive Jo Lloyd, an impressively improving Tim Harvey and long-time collaborator Deanne Butterworth. Some dancers were underutilised, in my view: Luke George, Julia Robinson and Brooke Stamp have proven themselves before, but didn't get a chance to shine today.

I was sitting right next to the door, cross legged on the ground, and at one point shifted my knee up a bit to rearrange myself. Exactly then, the very talented Ms Stamp flew past EXACTLY where my knee had been, and I realised that I could have been the victim of a contemporary dance-related injury (CDRI). I'm sure Brooke was in control and knew what she was doing, but it got me thinking, and when dynamo Jo Lloyd got very close with the high kicks I began to get a bit scared.

A few inches wrong and I'd be eating sole for supper.

Which wouldn't be that bad - as long as it didn't seriously hurt, it would be the kind of fun to be able to tell people where that footprint which lasted a week really came from.

What other arts-related injuries, inconveniences and humiliations would you be amendable to? Consider - would you care to be:

- Beaten by a drummer?

- Framed by a photographer?

- Pinned by a dressmaker?

- Painted into a corner by a visual artist?

- Yelled at by a mime?

- Made toe-y by a ballerina?

- Written off by a poet?

All of these things can be arranged.

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fluffy said...
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