The Quantum Enigma

Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin

18/03/2010 - 21/03/2010

Dunedin Fringe 2010

Production Details

Ex-patriot performance artist Sascha Perfect returns to New Zealand to produce and premiere this new work at the Dunedin Fringe festival. Awarded a New Work award by Creative NZ this will be the first time New Zealand audiences will get to sample her physically provocative, expressionistic and mesmerising dance theatre. Collaborating with New Zealand composer and musician, Chris Prosser and designer Chris Ulutupu.

In The Quantum Enigma, Butoh* dance and live music innovatively fuse together to create a rich, sensual and otherworldly experience. Using extended vocal techniques and stretched timing this meditative dance theatre steps out of everyday timing to transform the audience into another perceptual mode. One that is slowed down, concentrated and detailed. Utilizing subtle and evocative staging and a paired back live score to create a sensorial theatrical experience.

Life and death hang in the balance as a soul escapes its earthly form. Animalistic figures emerge from the blackness as time unfolds backwards and Memory recreates the fateful event. 

Intended audience: Adventurous theatre goers, dance enthusiasts, or someone interested in original new work that is challenging & thought provoking.

*Butoh/ Body Weather – a contemporary avant garde dance form pioneered in Japan.

Thur 18 – Sun 21 March 2010
Globe Theatre 7pm 
Prices: Full $10, Concession$7, Group booking $7
Tickets: Ticket Direct, ph 03 477-8597
 0800 4 TICKET or 0800 224 224 

Clear and evocative as far as it goes

Review by Ali East 21st Mar 2010

As we enter the darkened theatre we are aware of a man sitting side stage , with his back to us, and an oval mirror reflecting the audience back on itself, making us appear as part of the scenography (although this is never explained in the work). Eerie voices (pre-recorded and live) penetrate the darkness and a single up-stage lamp illuminates a moving figure making her way, with butoh slowness, down-stage.

The accompanying chanting, shamanistic and haunting, is in complete contrast to the woman’s clinging pink satin gown, black gloves and a fox fur stole. On her head is a cone shaped headdress and she is carrying before her an empty wire bird cage.

Her chanting becomes louder and more insistent. Now she is keening, crying out, as she bends to clip the empty cage on to a waiting chain. Is she the caged bird about to fly? We wonder.

The seated man rises, calling, chanting and bowing long single notes on his violin, as the woman slowly turns, arms held awkwardly behind her (as though chained). She crouches, slowly unzipping her satin “skin”.

The violin exits down-stage into the audience, reappearing moments later (pigeon-like) on a ledge above the stage as the woman all but disappears into darkness. A lamp lit on the floor reveals the woman half naked and lying. She rises, grasping for something and, as the violin reaches a crescendo and she falls back down, we realise, with some disappointment, that the whole thing is over.

What feels like a very strong part one is sadly all that we get of this potentially powerful work. The pared-down, butoh-like form and structure is clear and evocative with an impressive attention to the subtle detail of the imagery.

The performances by director Sasha Perfect and violinist-composer, Chris Prosser are powerful and polished. All elements work together to create an engaging total theatre experience. However, there is an unfortunate sense of incompleteness thus far. It is to be hoped that the work will evolve into a full length theatre event in the near future.
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