Newtown Community & Cultural Centre, Wellington

15/03/2019 - 16/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

Production Details

Armillaria ostoyae is a web of sub-surface, interconnected mycelium that is able to travel great distances. It is the largest living organism in the world, spanning 2,200 acres.

ARMILLARIA highlights the similarities fungi have to the human brain through abstract, intricate and thought provoking contemporary movement.

*NB* Performance details differ from those in the printed programme

Newtown Community and Cultural Centre, 7 Colombo Street, Newtown, Wellington
Friday 15 – Sunday 17 March 2019
General Admission $10.00
Fringe Addict $7.00
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Wheelchair access available

Theatre , Physical , Dance-theatre ,

1 hr

Cohesively exploring threaded connections

Review by Greer Robertson 17th Mar 2019

It always intrigues me how one arrives and settles upon subject material for presentation on stage. The choice is infinite with millions if not trillions of topics, conventional or otherwise.

So Fungus? Did one wake up in the morning, consumed with planetary problems and a burning desire to mount a piece to bring awareness on the intricacies of the largest living organism in the world spanning 2,200 acres? Or was the idea kicked into play while salivating at the thought of the about-to-be-devoured delicious mushrooms on toast for breakfast?

Who knows, but anything goes for NZ Fringe, a safety vehicle allowing legs for creative theatre and according to the performers’ vocalisation towards the end of the show, armarillaria ostoyae is indeed alive and well! 

Dressed in uniformed earth-toned, relaxed attire of t-shirt, flowing pants and socks, an innocent, unpretentious, work-shopped yet focused delivery of contemporary dance appears. Minimal lighting along with abstract face and body painting give it an alternative vibe. This piece is moulded more from a perspective of one acquiring physical and technical contemporary training, whilst exploring contact improvisation from the safe haven of a studio.  A tester and taster of things that eventually can grow with their acquiring craft.

It is well received by the intimate gathering of very supportive, very absorbed friends and family, as some sprawling on beanbags and cushions watch the youthful exuberance, often charming. Continual flowing energy is produced to the never-ending soundtrack of nature.

Through movement their aim is to highlight the similarities between fungi and the human brain. Perhaps a greater variety of thought patterns and emotions could be explored creating a more divertive and interesting brain? I know that mine is more alive, electric and multi-dimensional than what’s on view.

The close knit group comprising of 5 dance students, four females and one male, work cohesively, weaving while writhing continuously on the floor and at times upon the added dirt of earth. Breaking an often monotonous flow of intent, they add a welcome hint of quirky comedy by way of a more mature message conveying that the human brain and nature’s organism is delicate. A literal wilting plant is presented as lost in its stability striving for a stronger life.

In mainly ensemble work with the occasional solo and an incessantly connected-at-the-head duo, which is difficult to do for that long period of time, the dance students explore threaded connections as maybe they are humans controlled by the ever present ‘thing.’  Or are they the ‘thing?’ Have they become or do they want to live as ‘the thing’?

They are proud of their performance and their much loved armarillaria. 


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