Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin

26/03/2019 - 30/03/2019

Dunedin Fringe 2019

Production Details

Created by award-winning company AFTERBURNER, Fission is a new work that represents a fusion between theatre and physics. 

It is a devised work that brings together dynamic design elements, aspects of Māori sciences, choreography and performance, using elements of space, time, energy and light that are common to both theatre and physics. It will also tell the story of a present-day performance artist and her metaphysical connection to early 20th century physicist Lise Meitner.

‘Fission’ is created by award-winning professional theatre-makers and will be of interest to audiences who appreciate professional devised theatre, interdisciplinary performance, dance theatre, and the fusion of a wide range of theatrical elements into a total theatre experience.

Warning: Flashing lights.

Allen Hall Theatre, 90 Union Street East, Dunedin
TUE 26 – SAT 30 March 2019
$15.00 – $20.00
*Fees may apply

Theatre , Physical , Dance-theatre ,

50 mins

Light and sound and matter made accessible

Review by Hannah Molloy 28th Mar 2019

Fission by afterburner is an amalgamation of science, dance, theatre, music and mātauranga Māori, blended into a charming show that will appeal to people of most ages and fairly broad interests.  

The work is structured around quantum physics with titbits explained to us by Lisse, a YouTuber who films her ‘What’s the Matter’ vlog segments as we watch. She is joined by Lisa, a dancer who seems to be struggling with her rehearsing and confidence until she is visited by the spirit of Lise Meitner, who was involved with splitting the atom in the mid-1930s (although only her male colleague was awarded the Nobel Prize for the work…). 

Jodie Bates and Katherine Kennedy, joined by Kiri Bell appearing as Ria, offer these characters very credibly but the intersection between them is a little stretched – there’s somehow a lack of cohesiveness to the parts of the work. The common threads of light, space, time and energy are apparent but the three women’s stories don’t necessarily connect – they’re strangers who cross paths with each other, tenuous connections between the narratives of theatre, science and mātauranga Māori.

Kennedy’s dance is as always elegant and beautiful and Bates plays a slightly impish and endearing scientist. Bell appears only briefly but her waiata is lovely.

It’s difficult to present such dense concepts to an audience, which will likely have a very diverse grasp of them, and I applaud the will to bring science and art together, to find the symmetry in them. There is, however, a purity to the ideas of light and sound and matter that is accessible to anyone in any language or medium. 


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