Rifleman's Double Bill -- Terrain and Amanimal

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

27/02/2013 - 03/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details

Malia Johnston’s celebrated company Rifleman Productions (body / fight / time, Dark Tourists) brings some Wellington flavour to Loft with their double bill of boutique dance works – the premiere of Amanimal and Festival favourite Terrain. Using some of the country’s best contemporary dancers and collaborators (Ross McCormack, Paul Young, Eden Mulholland, John Verryt, Anita Hunziker and Luke Hanna) the two works complement each other to make for a complete evening of engaging and immersive dance theatre.

Buy tickets to both shows at discounted prices by clicking Buy Tickets Now button below. To book for Terrain only (7pm), click HERE. To book for Amanimal only (9pm) click HERE

Amanimal is the third major collaboration between Malia and theatre director Emma Willis and continues their exploration into the intertwining of the theatre and dance vocabularies within a movement milieu. Amanimal looks at the idea of environment, and how “beings” create and reflect their surroundings. Using animal imagery, Ross and Paul create a rich landscape, infused with comedy and absurdity as well as some strong lyrical imagery from Eden.

An exploration of landscape, scale and place, Terrain is a performance in which the miniature and the giant collide in a very human exploration of precariousness and the inevitability of change. Presented on an innovative installation consisting of a tiny kitset plywood stage, artificial turf, miniature props and vintage music played on a retro hi-fi, Terrain is at once profound while appealing to the model railway junkie in us all, a piece that has something for everyone. It playfully subverts traditional ideas about what dance can be, combining it with physical theatre, visual imagery and high energy partnering, as it if were just as much an art exhibition in motion.

– See more at: http://qtheatre.co.nz/riflemans-double-bill#sthash.PFBymCdF.dpuf

Terrain: Luke Hanna and Anita Hunziker

Amanimal: Paul Young and Ross McCormack (dancers) Eden Mulholland (music) Rowan Pierce (projections) John Verryt (design)

2 x 50 mins, separate shows

Fringe dance offerings delicate, fierce and funny

Review by Raewyn Whyte 01st Mar 2013

Week two of the Auckland Fringe Festival for dance lovers opened at the Basement with Wellington-based Jen McArthur’s insightful and exquisite Echolalia, a beautifully crafted, sensitively delivered presentation of a day in the life of Echo, a young woman on the autism spectrum. When the challenges of the day overwhelm her and when her irrepressible spirit breaks out, Echo dances through her bedsit, with leaps and turns and sheer delight – so inspiring to behold.

Wellington-based Rifleman Productions have brought two separate works to Q Loft in their double bill, which comes to a close tonight. At 7pm is the now decade-old award-winning Terrain, a boutique-scaled work featuring segments of densely crafted, intricate and awesome choreographic manoeuvres in tiny spaces.

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Provocative art and very fabulous performers

Review by 28th Feb 2013

Malia Johnston belongs to a celebrated company called Rifleman Productions that hails from Wellington. Much of her work resonates with the influences of the diverse contemporaneity of Impulstanz, an annual international dance festival in Vienna. Rifleman Productions’ distinctive choreographic hallmarks feature artistic collaborations with musical powerhouse, Eden Mulholland, theatre director, Emma Wilson and  the finely calibrated designs of John Verryt and Rowan Pierce.
For the Auckland Fringe 2013,  Rifleman presents two boutique dance works on separate bills. In order of the evening: Terrain, which is most definitely a festival favourite in that it combines charm and quirkiness with downright brilliance, and a premiere of dance theatre Amanimal. A new generation of contemporary dancers takes on the now decade-old Terrain, Anita Hunziker and Luke Hanna; whilst the mature virtuoso more seasoned performers, Ross McCormack, Paul Young and Eden Mulholland perform Amanimal. Taken together, as a double bill, the two works share viscerally organised movement and intense, fearless aerial bouts of partnering, plus jagged, plangent music renderings, visual disjunctions  and pastel colours, making a compelling evening of engaging and immersive dance theatre.
I last reviewed Terrain when it was performed by the choreographers’ Guy Ryan and Malia Johnstone at Galatos, Auckland in 2007, and I quote from that review which is just as relevant today: “A celebration of landscape, scale and place, Terrain is a performance in which the miniature and the giant collide in a very human exploration of precariousness, transience and transformation”.  I last remarked that I was “one of the fortunate few who will see this beautiful work up close and personal”.
This time the space was the Q Loft, with seating configured to be still personal but fortunately fitting a larger audience. We were all still squeezed close to the movement, breath and sweat of the dancers, in fact I think I sat even closer this time and hardly dared to breathe in at the sheer balancing strength of this time round dancers, Anita Hunziker and Luke Hanna, nor to breathe out in case of disturbing their extraordinary focus.
Once again, presented as an innovative installation consisting of the same kit-set plywood stage,  yoga blocks, layers of artificial grass, clumsily spaced lighting stands, a retro hi-fi system, records and an array of miniature props, Terrain still manages to subvert even the most recent ideas about what contemporary dance can be. This time round I noticed more about the wooden art body and the finger puppets and the way their journey through the work becomes part of a weave of subtle stories that are cleverly emphasised by the words of the many songs played throughout. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Brian Eno and the country sounds of T Tex Tyler and Col Wilson provide texture in musical rhythms as well as text. The combination of physical theatre and visual imagery has over the years nestled into a timeless work about love. Simply by transposing the work on a new couple, recognisable intimacies and emotional play between characters reminds me of the obvious, the commonplace, and inevitable caprices inside any love affair.
After a long interval with plenty of time to eat and share stories in the comfy Q Theatre Lounge, the second work of the evening, Amanimal is a richly rewarding exhibition in visuals and motion: of animal-ibilia, fur coats on males, graphic evisceration (not real though), imaginative animation and enigmatically disturbing movement.
Amanimal is the third major collaboration between Malia Johnston and theatre director Emma Willis, and maintains an exploratory bent towards ecological sustainability and creature surrounds. In the first moments, a set of fur coats with satin lining, worn and tied as representations of fear, death, sex, fun and love, race across the stage and from then on we have fast tracked delivery and all actions set at a slightly crazy speed. Within the arc of the work  there are several faked deaths and plenty of shouts of pain. A microphone, set up to gather and thrust live sound into the disheveled space becomes a fourth performer.
The most notable movement sequence occurs between the two male dancers – Paul Young and Ross McCormack drive electrifying energy, unstoppable shapes and powerful sentience through an extended duet, intriguing and unusual and rich in imaginary happenings. Often hysterically funny, sometimes pain-filled, it is filled by  characterisations of men in the world  – running, catching, falling, listening, caressing, humping, eviscerating carcasses — highlighted by Rowan Pierce’s animations and the design swirl of pastel sheets.
Taking his fair share of the performance landscape, Eden Mulholland is thrust in, beard and all, in full modus operandi: composer, storyteller, singer, muso and actor en scene. In the relish I feel at watching the musician, I am reminded of my teen years smirking at late night live bands.
Rifleman Productions once again brings to the theatre provocative art, a compelling sensitivity towards creativity and very fabulous performers.
Amanimal is more than a premiere work. It foretells a world worth supporting, and mapped by artistic practitioners with belief systems that bespeak a future of innovation, the results of which may be challenging and dramatic yet preclusive to a necessary environmentally sustainable change. 


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