Crossways Community Centre, Wellington
21/02/2013 - 07/03/2013
Touched is equal parts performance art, improvisation and metaphor, with a side of audience participation. It is a bunch of broad strokes and fine gestures. The broad strokes in this piece are dance, music, spoken word, digital and visual arts and improvisation while the fine gestures are the meanings and layers in the word touch.
The creation of Touched has come through a variety of workshops with trained and non trained dancers, musicians, actors and visual artists whose goal was to expand what is called theatre and who is considered a performer.
This expansion occurs the second the audience enters the building and walks through an art installation. From there the audience ends up sitting in the round close enough to the performers to hear them breathing. There will be moments when the audience is invited to engage in even more ways, and each person can decide how much he or she wants to be involved.
The piece could be considered an homage to performance art of the ’90s and the happenings of the ’60s art scene in New York City, but Touched is an event that acknowledges and honors the fact that we are alive and have bodies, bodies that can be touched and can touch and that can do extraordinary things…like sing and dance and paint and tell stories and where a single gesture can inspire an entire world to unfold.
Touched has 14 performers and maybe more depending on which night you come and depending on how much the person sitting next to you wants to participate. If you like to witness evolution, are keen for adventure and enjoy not knowing what might happen next, then this multimedia art event is your ticket to Fringe bliss.
Thursdays 6pm – 7.15pm – 21 Feb, 28 Feb, 7 March
Tix: $15 / $13/ $10
Review by Amy Tait 22nd Feb 2013
Touched is a unique performance that incorporates movement, live music, spoken word and visual arts to explore the many different facets of human touch. It is directed by Tommy Truss and presented by the Windy Performing Arts Ensemble at Crossways Community Centre.
The audience are invited in to the performance space a few minutes prior to the starting time of 6pm and greeted by a circle of chairs surrounding the frozen performers. Immediately I was struck by the unusual layout and intimacy of the setting. There is nowhere for the performers to hide, but this is also true of the audience. Objects of differing textures are around the room and no sooner were we seated than the performance began.
The performers were awoken by another member of the cast through touch. There was something special about these moments as they looked into each other’s eyes and displayed a genuine connection and acknowledgement. Intimate moments were continually being witnessed, a feat in such close quarters. Throughout the piece the ensemble explores the spectrum of ways to touch and be touched; gentle to aggressive, meaningful to flippant. As the pace of the movement increased, the exchanges between performers become terse, a poignant reflection on modern society. That said, it is not all serious, there are moments of humour and at times you get a glimpse of just how much fun the performers are having.
The special thing about this show is that it weaves so many art forms together seamlessly. When the dancers stop in the center of the room, the musicians and artists stop too, creating complete stillness. The musical accompaniment is fantastic. There is a wonderful assortment of instruments creating some conventional and some very unique sounds. The vocals are simply beautiful.
Throughout the performance visual art is being created. One of the gems of this show are the photos being taken throughout and relayed to a projector. Kwai Lam has a genuine knack for capturing exchanges and expressions, thus allowing the audience in on moments they may have otherwise missed.
The hour-long performance both entertained and challenged the audience to think about the affects we have on each other. Half way through we were presented with the opportunity to engage in the performance by way of a box that had been sitting at our feet throughout. Without giving away the game, what is inside challenges the audience to digest and personalise what they have been watching.
Touched was crafted by the ensemble, and the result of this is evident as each of the seven dancers are completely invested and committed. I value a performance that maintains intention throughout and everything about this one seems to fit and flow together with ease. Each of the audience members would have taken away their own interpretation of this piece, but I am confident that each did indeed take something away.
There are 2 more opportunities to see Touched on Thursday 28th February and Thursday 7th March. If you are looking for conventional dance and perfect technique then this is not the show for you. If you like to be challenged and want to experience something new, I would go for it. It is well worth the $15 admission.
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