The Transmission Room, Auckland
20/10/2009 - 21/10/2009
The New Culturally Accepted and Popular Dance. Stripping Inhibitions and Exposing the Closeted Self. Just Exploring what it is and isn’t like being Me?
On our Own, Together, With You and an hors d’oeuvres or two.
Coerced into being by Kate Bartlett, Charlie Helliwell, Rebecca Solomon, Greer Howat, Perri Exeter and Josie Conybeer.
Prodigious: meaning extraordinary, fabulous and surprising.
Pilot: the first series, leading as a guide, a prototype.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009: 7:30pm
Wednesday, 21 October 2009: 7:30pm
Duration: Bar Open from 7pm
396 Queen Street (Entrance on Mayoral Drive)
Door Sales Available or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Playful pastiche and flamboyant dancing – but why?
Review by Carol Brown 21st Oct 2009
Descending to below ground level and the dark, beer scented venue of the Transmission Rooms, for the much talked about return of Yours Truly Productions, we wait for something to happen in a cabaret-style setting.
A pre-planned botched beginning is followed by a series of fake formal announcements, one from a cardboard cut-out banana faced figure, and the other an onscreen air hostess performing an instructional video.
Playing across different registers of performance, the company, assemble a loosely structured dance event around a song list of iconic pop songs and the children’s classic, ‘Go Bananas’.
Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing with Myself’ becomes the anthem as this almost all-female company negotiate rites of femininity and perform a series of short dances. But a desire to dance does not a dance show make. Trawling through the back catalogue – Joy Division, Gwen Stefani and Moby amongst others (none of which are credited in the programme) – for triggers, they get stuck on sentimental reminiscences of kissing in princess frocks, and drunken hen parties.
As if this wasn’t sweet enough, chocolate banana cake is passed around at interval, and the recurring humour of a cardboard cut-out figurine with banana face intersects each half.
Framed by an inflight video, ‘how to dance go bananas’, and concluding with the fully embodied version of this as a chorus of women resembling cheerleaders joyfully chant and dance to the children’s rhyme, the work comprises a series of dances loosely combined and dramaturgically shaped.
Hen parties, a bride and her bridesmaids, a Cleopatra and Anthony dance (the singular appearance of a male dancer), a solitary woman dancing erratically to Joy Division with her head phones on, become vignettes which explore and expose freedoms, longings, fantasies and possible futures.
Playing on the girls’ night out of the hen party, the performers infiltrate the audience and set up a series of photographs. Although they play on the bad taste of the drunken hen party, there is little interrogation of this ritual or its performance potential, other than through an acting out of its excesses. Attempts at critique, subversion and the making strange of this familiar territory, stumble as the action becomes harnessed into the dominant frames of the pop songs.
To shape a dramaturgy through these pop songs is a challenge given that they already carry significant memories and associations for many in the audience. Prodigious Pilot has a go at meeting these songs with their own associations, playful pastiche and flamboyant dancing but the dancing exhausts itself and we are left with their singing ‘Go Bananas’ as a call to action, but what for and why?
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