A Life Lived in Skin
Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
24/09/2008 - 27/09/2008
A Life Lived in Skin is set in the recesses of an old woman’s mind, we see a silhouetted figure, time heavy on her shoulders, burdened and supported by her oversized walking stick. Her deliberate footsteps echo in our ears, she is on a journey through life, reminiscence, existence, future, landscapes and dreams all woven together to unfold our many lives in her skin.
The story of fragile beauty emerges gradually through the accumulation of many scenes. Part biography, part fairy-tale, it tells the story of a woman passing through country and era where dimensions of space and time appear not as we may believe them to be.
A Life Lived in Skin is a magical tale through the medium of dance theatre, text, projected image, lighting and devised music to richly evoke emotion and time wrapped space.
"Come dream dreams with me, we can share a pillow to wrap our hearts around".
Dance Your Socks Off 2008
Venue: Gryphon Theatre
22 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro
Reservations through the web site and Gryphon Theatre, (04) 385 0532
Event contact numbers: Annabel 027 412 1530, Shaun 027 339 1619
Wed 24 – Sat 27 Sep 2008
Annabel Reader (Co-founder and director of EyeSoar Dance Theatre): Choreographer, dancer, music designer/mixer, costume and prop maker for A Life Lived in Skin.
Shaun Oshman: Co-founder of EyeSoar Dance and the behind the scenes producer, assistant director, publicist and sound support guy.
Sara Pattison: Projections and lighting operation
Nigel Edgecombe: Lighting designer.
Faye Jansen: Stage Manager
Stylish but soporific
Review by Jan Bolwell 29th Sep 2008
This is an intelligently conceived and beautifully presented one-hour solo dance show by Annabel Reader. The programme notes describe the work as ‘part biography, part fairy tale’ telling the story of universal woman passing through a life full of memories.
The dance begins with the arresting vision of a silhouetted ‘crone’ holding her branched stick who then slowly reveals herself to the audience. Reader captures the stance and movement of extreme age with great skill, right down to the detail of clawed feet. Throughout the solo one can clearly see the influence of her travels in Bhutan, the Himalayas and India and her close observations of the local people.
The different ages of woman are variously portrayed, but always returning to the crone who anchors the piece. The transitions are effectively and imaginatively handled. A crinoline drops from above to land over the head of Reader in seamless fashion as she segues into a delicate turning dance. The slow unravelling of a sari on to which projections are played is a less successful transition, the spell broken by a computer glitch and a voiceover that in both content and projection does not match the power of the visual images.
Annabel Reader is an engaging performer and uses both her body and face evocatively to portray different emotions and life stages. One of the most affecting scenes is the love of, then the loss of a child, cleverly rendered with a piece of white silk cloth. The grieving mother is danced with considerable power and believable emotion.
The major weakness in ‘A Life Lived in Skin’ is a lack of dynamic variation. Both music and movement are locked into a similar tempo and dynamic, and you long for the soporific effect that this engenders to be broken. This is partially achieved near the end with some beautifully choreographed aerial work and in a short lively dance to drums. But more change of energy is needed throughout the piece.
The overall feeling of this solo is one of stylishness. The design elements are carefully thought through, enhanced by lovely costuming and lighting, and the Gryphon is an ideal theatre for ‘A Life Lived in Skin’ with its intimate atmosphere.
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