HAUNTING, DARK, BEAUTY
choreography, concept, performanc: Sascha Perfect
music: Chris Prosser, Alex Mitcalfe Wilson
at Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington
From 17 Jul 2012 to 19 Jul 2012
Reviewed by Virginia Kennard, 18 Jul 2012
There is dark beauty in the haunting hybrid characters that Sascha Perfect inhabits in her movement and sound world Chimera, a work premiered at The Body Festival in Christchurch in 2010 and now continuing its development in Wellington, with its Wellington premiere originally programmed for the 2012 Dance Wellington Festival which was sadly cancelled..
A series of images that morph and travel: Sascha Perfect – woman; the dead body decomposing, doll-like; the crone, crumbling to become a bundle of rags; a pagan ritual participant, chanting; the accusing gaze of the maiden spinning her empty bird cage. Again: Chris Prosser – man; an eccentric at his desk, blindly and blithely swiping away the enemy and devouring flesh; a musical source, marking territory with violin twangs; a support to the woman yet existing in his own exclusive death ritual.
Constant mist is its own performative entity. Like Perfect herself, the mist takes on various characters throughout – the drifting ashes of a burning pyre, dust blowing across the desert, the swirling fog of a post-apocalyptic ruin. The regular hiss as it is generated acts as a metronome to the performance.
Live violin work is horror-movie film like. The electronic soundtrack creates the first hint of the mystical and mythical, and later (despite the one odd and grating Kenny G-like saxophone) adds to this mystique, this ritual.
The inspiration for Martin Wittfooth paintings is heavily evident in the latter part of the work, though this evidence is made obvious by the clumsy and literal representation of the human-goat-serpent used by Perfect, rather than the smooth flow between images of the earlier parts of the work. The shift from chant to hymn is a difficult one with respect to the vocal abilities of the performers.
Beautiful use of light – slowly and hauntingly revealing and discarding the life on stage.
This work weaves chant and violin, swift exit and slow physicality, emerging light and dying dark, in what could be a death ritual enacted in reverse. The stage is deep, very deep, and so we watch, breathless, from far away, a detached and yet intimate voyeur in this mystical rite.
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