Quixotic Parables

BATS Theatre, Wellington

20/02/2007 - 23/02/2007

NZ Fringe Festival 2007

Production Details

Women and Honour - Notes On Lying (Clare Luiten)
Make [It] Up (Alexa Wilson)
with music from Charlotte Rose

Two of New Zealand’s Choreographic Talents team up to bring you Quixotic Parables for four nights only at Bats Theatre in Wellington.

Quixotic Parables combines the evocative and sensitive with the provocative and ‘in your face’.  Two solo performances of extreme beauty, rarity, humour, honesty, wit, all in celebration of being in love, with love, lost love and because of love.

Combining exquisite photography and film, with beautifully crafted costume and unique dance, Clare Luiten returns to Wellington for the first time in 12 years to present Woman and Honour – Notes on Lying, a work that moves smoothly between the real and surreal. Ideas of love versus ownership, freedom versus control, women’s love for each other, and women’s love for men, are sensitively and evocatively explored and questioned.

Alexa Wilson’s Make [it] up: An Un/sustainable Career in Enlightenment is a serious satire of ‘internet-dating’ and comment on local/global identities and the complex relationships that they play out, when invited to promote themselves to attract sexual or romantic attention across cyberspace. It mimics self-obsessed and self-promoting local/global cultures engaged in paradoxes of intimacy/distance, truth/illusion-deception, un/containment. Make [it] Up will be messy, pointed, abstract-absurdist, humourous, potentially potent. It is about finding true love and the invisible.

Dance , Contemporary dance ,

1 hr

Feminine courage and admirable bravery

Review by Lyne Pringle 22nd Feb 2007

See this show, it is full of feminine courage; there are two completely contrasting solos evoking very different responses in the viewer.

Clare Luiten choreographs and performs Women and Honour: Notes on Lying. The exquisite form of her body is projected on a rough sheet screen with a voiceover about lying. Luiten states in the programme, “My body knew what this work was about before my conscious mind did … ” On the screen we see the great truth of that body providing an interesting juxtaposition with the content of the text.

Slowly a shadowy live figure emerges and the senses dart from projection to lovely soundscape by Charlotte Rose to text (almost too many elements) to dancer, as she appears to float across the floor on her back. The movement is butohesque, contorted, as she struggles to stand and the lighting by Natala Gwiazdzinski exquisitely catches the contours of the thigh, caressing the flesh.

Luiten has beautiful control in her body. She is unafraid of stillness. What follows is one of the most thrilling sequences of the Fringe so far for me: a rigorous series of movements across the back of the stage where the body is flung, wrapped, taut, furious, disheveled, distorted; the hair wild and loose, building tension until the body explodes into paroxysms of movement that are barely believable as the sound builds to an ear shattering crescendo. Damn fine choreography and a thrillingly articulate body!

The segue into the next scene is footage of birds flocking away from a larger bird: beautiful but I wonder about the connection to the rest of the dance. The pace of the piece slows again as I want more of the dynamic from the previous scene.  Luiten paints her left arm then spins in ‘wheeling freedom’; a compelling image. The dance finishes with Luiten pouring water over herself from a large bucket but this doesn’t hold the same originality and power as the previous images and the whole seems incomplete but full of tremendous promise.

Alexa Wilson choreographs and performs Make [It] Up – an unconventional offering, provoking an unconventional response.

So girlie girl with the sword / neon tube / seaweed whip slashing attitude, cleaning a glass house in fast motion and dancing staggering in the rain, on screen, while your other self slashes said neon tube through the space in a cast off wedding dress, the sword of your intellect slicing through the conventional space between us in your martial art moulded flexible nonchalant form. What do you want this reviewer scribbling in the shadows to make of this work on our first internet dance/date?

Shall I trick you? Throw a potato at you from the audience that says ‘Your work stinks, tidy it up!’  Shower nice platitudes ‘Your work is very interesting, it has lots of bits in it, don’t it?’

Am I in danger of being deconstructed in your divine trickster reality – mesmerized by your mastery of paradox as your sword slices through an audience member – how in control are you? Adrenalin pumps. Caught in your irony? You’re flailing I’m failing and you are now on a beach using said seaweed like a whip (you like this slicing through space with objects), then in a shower – pert breasts teasing.

There is the Golden Rule and a kamikaze pissed off attitude to the funding bodies. ‘They don’t know which box to put me in’ – this multi-media, dance / performance artist shamaness / personess – no wonder you call yourself a simple ‘dancer’ at parties. Whew!

First five minutes gone and you don a skeleton suit from a plastic bag full of costumes on the front of the stage and keep commenting on what you’re doing as the suit comments on the bones beneath. This is fun – the tussle with your intellect absorbing. Show me your show reel and I will be impressed by your achievements if you like! Celebrate mind celebrate the text scrolling behind unleashed and dare I say it aesthetically pleasing as the work and the image find a balance together.

This is ‘way too complex for marketing purposes’ but you can’t keep it simple can you? Too much to say. You give out notes to help me but it’s too dark to read them, then you decide to take them back because it’s a waste of paper. OK, I’ll keep playing and chuckle a bit if you like. Composting, recycling. Rape poem which is rape as architecture, a dance -it’s a freelance. Can’t hear you. Speak up! I presume you want me to hear, the text too good to be missed as a piece about road kill climbs through a frame on the screen behind. Invisible projection on projection, one self naked the other blended into the shadows pitching though more rubber banded martial forms that I can’t quite see which is a pity cos the choreo is good/original, the dancing engrossing; dare I say satisfying.

You say ‘You see nothing I make visible your and my blindness’. Whew about 20 mins in now! This date is a wild rollercoaster. You sing gospel and I feel intimate with you as you don red patches, stars twinkling, x marks the spot, I’m interacting then you tell me you are an illusion that can be photo-shopped out – that I can click on you. Potatoes under seats with words like ‘strong’ are thrown at you if we agree with the description – brilliant.

Is it ok to admire your bravery? Volunteers: a feather duster, a punching bag, a rap in red boxing gloves – ‘art entertainment or art attainment’. There are many personas, a library of them to draw on as you ‘aim to disappoint me’ – you don’t!

Then you invite volunteers to sleep on pillows as you risk decapitating them with your favourite sword. Do you have a good grip? We are not sure and it scares us.

This reviewer thinks there is a roughness here that belies a deep intelligence involved in an agonizing and important dismantling of performance constructs to find a freedom of expression – it could be exhilarating if you just give me a few extra clues, honour the beats with shape and trust. This would let more people in: it is theatre after all.


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