Get Entangled

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

01/03/2007 - 03/03/2007

NZ Fringe Festival 2007

Production Details

Choreographed & Directed by Jill Menard


Welcome to the age of genetic engineering where any form of plant, material or animal can be combined using the latest technology with DNA transplanting and gene splicing. Nature can combine varieties of a similar genus, such as apples, forming new breeds. But where in nature would you ever see a toad merging with a potato?

These bizarre genetic entanglements have escaped the lab; all around the world these mutations are being released into nature and guess what, we are the guinea pigs! Should we trust that the scientists know what they are doing or should we fear that this huge world-wide experiment may take a turn for the worse, with irreversible results? Are these the last years of true, authentic life?

Since the dawn of time, the human mind has possessed the capacity to question everything in this world, concocting various explanations and meanings for these discoveries. Everyone develops their own perspective this way, with no two people having the same exact belief system. We cling to these individual likes and dislikes for the rest of our lives (“I’ve never liked oranges”).

Yet often we are found following the path of least resistance – the path that the majority of society believes is “right.” Certain opinions are observed by the masses, such as the fact that yellow is always a happy colour and black is often a depressed, sad colour. But how can anything ever be determined as “right”? Life, judgment, opinions, relationships, and society are always changing, with no set of ideals or morals that are perfect for everyone.

Come and get entangled with these controversial questions with the FERN DANCE THEATRE in this powerful, imaginative, thought-provoking exploration into life, the future, and the age of technology. Containing quirky dances, extraordinary movement, startling observations, lively debates, humorous animation, wild videos, and plenty of speculation and confusion, this show is bound to impact the audience (and the performers!).

The FERN DANCE THEATRE prides itself on using a wide range of dance styles and performers, allowing for truth and originality to shine forth on stage. The cast will consist of 6 semi-professional dancers (ages 16+) with 2 understudies (ages 14-16). All the dancers will be included in the creation of this show, keeping the overall opinions from becoming one-sided or biased. The opportunity for audience participation and sharing of opinions may be included as well.

Above all else, the purpose of this show is to question the necessity of this huge global experiment and how it will impact life as we know it… and to engage the audience in a diverse, energetic, entangled dance show!

Wendy Westwood, Kaisa Pesonen, Stephanie McKay, Diana Taylor, Becky Ward, Lara Jupp, Isabelle Nelson, Ella Blake and Jill Menard

Dance ,

Clear story; weird science

Review by Lyne Pringle 05th Mar 2007

Jill Menard has built up a large dance school and a supportive community of students and parents. For the last 4 years she has put on a production for the Fringe. This year she explores the topic of Genetic Engineering thus the title for the show Get Entangled: GE.

The dancers are Wendy Westwood, Kaisa Pesonen, Stephanie McKay, Diana Taylor, Becky Ward, Lara Jupp, Isabelle Nelson, Ella Blake and Menard. A huge support crew including many family members have poured heaps of enthusiasm into this production.

A pitch forked farmer, tap-dancing bees and Grecian draped flowers open the show. The dancers give committed performances are well rehearsed and wear effective costumes. The performance has a revue type feel to it with three sections using mostly the genre of jazz dance with juxtapositions of various pieces of music.

Menard uses her imagination well to tell a clear story but the ideas are sometimes clichéd and the text didactic. Each dance begins at the start of the music track and then follows along until the music stops – this relationship of sound and image could be investigated so that dances could be trimmed to a more dynamic length. 

A video section with an unconvincing science teacher was a good idea but overly long. An interesting, well done little animation brings home the idea of injecting toad cells into a tomato and the drastic consequences. At one point there are some quite scary monsters with red glistening eyes. The piece finishes with words of caution from a projected, heavily mutated human – very effective.

I met two little friends there Eleni (9) and Romy (7), who learn from Jill. They had this to say about the performance:

"I like the second dance based on science. I think it was quite clever – the costumes were quite clever where the arms were attached. I like the red headlights on the animals. They were good dancers. I liked the bees. It was funny how they poked their heads and feet  – like they were getting an electric shock – when they were trying to cross the fence. I think it was about science – weird science; what kind is good or bad. Is it true about the toad and apple stuff? Don’t listen to your teacher is one thing it was about."

"I liked it all the way through. I would like to see the bees and the tap-dance again."


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