14/03/2013 - 16/03/2013
A White Night event during Auckland Arts festival
Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director, Carla van Zon says, “White Night is a unique opportunity for people to experience art in a new light, and explore a city brought to life by art. It’s a time when doors are opened, barriers are broken down, and art is available to everyone. Bring your friends and family and discover Auckland afresh, or take a solo journey through the city and its secrets.”
Must watch carefully
Review by Clare Battersby 21st Mar 2013
From the moment I place on headphones and am surrounded by the spacious provocative soundscape for 1000 Lovers I am completely captivated. The sight of the Widow gliding seamlessly amongst the silos at Silo Park, appearing and disappearing, suggests we all must watch carefully. The technique, strength, beauty and precision of the performer, who I later discover is Carol Brown, has me spell bound.
It is as if time stands still, with no rush to capture every detail of what is unfolding as all will gradually be revealed. Unobtrusive guides lead us up stairways, along balconies, then down to the sea where the water becomes the stage. Here, a lone male dancer cuts his way through the ink-black water like a seal emerging to meet the lady in red, whereupon he is dressed into a corporate suit and they head off to the city, leaving the audience alone with headphones and a new moon hanging in the sky as the show ends.
I enjoy the choices I can make as an audience member to follow whatever aspect of the visual feast in front of me I choose at any given time.
I love the use of the environment, the thoughtfulness of the interactions, the craftsmanship of the choreography, the exquisite costumes – so contemporary, so sophisticated, so slick.
It is evident that every angle, every focal point in the environment has been considered.
I enjoy being able to go on the journey and watch the tale unfold while still having my own interpretation.
I walk away from the performance with images etched in my mind: the gliding Widow – the fiery, dynamic, wild, Lady in White; the red dress billowing so perfectly through the urban space as if past and present has collided; restaurant patrons bemusedly watching us watching the show; the hooded dancers framing the journey, drawing one’s attention and making the most of every dancing platform provided by the urban landscape.
I have seen many outdoor performances both here and overseas and this performance of such seamless perfection is definitely near the top of my list. Stunning, ethereal and a joy to be part of.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
Mythology in migration
Review by Jesse Quaid 18th Mar 2013
Ranging from Silo park to Karanga Plaza, the journey that is MAP’s 1000 Lovers is an intriguing idea. The work draws on the translation of Tāmaki Makaurau, “the isthmus of 1000 lovers” or “Tamaki the bride sought by a hundred suitors”, combined with the mildly gruesome legend of Maui’s wife Hine and her ill-fated lover Tuna. Decked out with gorgeous costuming and some interesting uses of the space, it offers much but somehow fails to live up to its potential.
Gathered together in the growing darkness, we look out across Silo Park, searching for movement. As figures emerge out of the darkness, we gradually become aware of what is happening. A widow paces ceaselessly; a girl in red lays a path towards her, while faintly menacing figures watch from nearby vantage points. An emotive soundtrack is delivered through headphones, allowing the audience to carry the sound with them but producing an uncomfortably isolating effect, somewhat like watching a movie rather than a live performance. This feeling of dislocation is enhanced by the uncertainty of which direction we should be focusing on, or moving in. With such a large crowd, more visible guides would have enhanced the experience, especially when we were not moving in a straight line.
We follow along with the performers as they travel, pausing for snippets of performance in what becomes a drawn out process. When you are at the front of the crowd the journey is engaging, but from the centre of the audience, unable to see the characters, the walk becomes interminable.
There are, however, moments of startling beauty. The image of Hine’s trailing red skirt, billowing like blood in water, although overused, is effective. The bride and the widow, elaborately dressed, circle each other like dolls, coming together in a sensual battle for control. Tuna’s slow journey through the stream is compelling, one section that works well in the dim light, his figure fading in and out of sight. The impact of the imagery is lost, however, in the monotone mood and repetitively gestural vocabulary. Despite the distance we travel, and the intriguing possibilities hinted at by the characters, when we reach the end it does not feel as though we have learned much from our journey.
The concept of 1000 Lovers is magnificent, but I am left faintly unsatisfied and with the nagging question as to why the widow dragged a suitcase around for so long.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer