Let Them Eat Cake - Soliloquy in Sweat

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

23/02/2021 - 27/02/2021

Auckland Fringe 2021

Production Details

Choreographers: Fa’asu Afoa-Purcell and Katrina E. Bastian

After wowing audiences at Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa 2020, these stunning works come to Basement. Soliloquy in Sweat offers audience members coupons to various services- cooking, cleaning, and babysitting, should the performer, Katrina Elizabeth, fail to fulfil her promise to collect half a-litre of sweat within 30-minutes by performing a series of high-intensity exercises and movement phrases. Let Them Eat Cake, by Fa’asu Afoa Purcell, examines the contradictory and ever-evolving idea of self and identity. “We will together explore notions of life and death and how the human form is seemingly ever present during such times.” And yes, there will be cake.


Performers: Amber Jackson, Chantal Diack, Terry Morrison and Katrina E. Bastian
Tech & amp; Lighting: Paul Bennett

Experimental dance , Dance-theatre , Contemporary dance , Dance ,

60 mins

Fringe shows can produce beauties.

Review by Felicity Molloy with Thomas Hopkins 24th Feb 2021

Fringe shows can produce beauties. They can also let the social order know what dance is actually up to. We might call that cutting edge. Without labouring those terms as euphemism, audience response was astute at tonight’s Fringe event, demonstrating that I was not alone in thinking the dance says it all. I took my big son Tom along as he dances by night and early morning and has been coming to dance (not always peacefully) since he was 2. This review is interwoven with his insights. 

Let Them Eat Cake is a reworked dance with a new cast. Dancers, Amber Jackson, Chantal Diack, and Terry Morrison are dragged one-by-one along the floor into a horizontal position by choreographer Fa’asu Afoa-Purcell. He dresses them as though mannequins and then maintaining horizontality, even when sitting or standing, they pivot like music box dancers. As music by Elena Šiljić crescendos, the dancers switch into a complicated dance of shoulders and hips and spine in synchronised, agile movements distracted by Fa’asu’s playful tossing of costumes and buckets and party things. His creative joy is evident as he sketches chaos and colour in the body world.

Fa’asu’s lightness does not belie an artist at work. Of particular potency is placing his books on the dancers’ shoulders – they slip off, and the comical moments when dancers shrug off props without pause or loss of focus. The props give way as distraction to the wildish breaks from synchronised movements that segue to a compelling message. This dance is casually, yet tightly constructed around time and metaphor that inexorably generates sufficient emotion for the dancers to produce stories about friends in memory’s intention, I find myself thinking about people I care about.

The montage of colour and the chaos in the first dance is highlighted by Paul Bennett’s lighting, as is the second when there is one dancer, dressed in silver and then her naked body to follow.

Soliloquy In Sweat is a conceptual choreography by Katrina E. Bastian. After 20 minutes timed by the digital clock screened on the wall, of multidimensional quivering, and exacting dancing, she vocalises, with augmenting and inflection, the story about her pastor father, and stay at home mum who used her credit card to ensure her daughter stays dancing. The sound is a cacophonic mix of Jarymae, tracks by Opuswerk, Modularz, Edvard Hunger, Tom Dicicco, SNTS, and Boston 168. Watching Katrina’s body dance in the shadows provides sweating perspective of the human form and the sweat transforming through kinaesthetic action. And then, when she gets the dancers in the audience to stand up, there is all that emotion. And, according to Tom, “for all of us who stayed sitting, it was to pay our respects to the dancers in the room and let them have their moment”.

Creativity, when society is struggling to hold onto the grandeur of commerce in a world denoted by chaos makes creativity seem normal and bursts of creativity simple by nature. Even combined, or in the contrast between a group piece and the solo, these Fringe works hold powerful statements. In brief, this evening is a respite of creativity amongst chaos and of particular reassurance is to be in a live show, not one recorded. 


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