Dance Interrogations
hipsync @ Medina Treasury Tunnels
6:30pm, Sun 4 Mar 2012
It took a little exploring to locate the entrance to the Tunnels – despite walking past the Treasury every day on my workplace commute, I’ve only ever entered the building whilst inebriated. Eventually I found some stairs and was directed to a little waiting room… I was the first to arrive, so – as is my wont – I pulled out my laptop and start making incomprehensible notes.
What I should have done is pressed staff for more details (a programme, maybe?) of this performance… because it turned out to be a genuinely engaging – and genuinely curious – affair.
The numbers in the little waiting room swelled; I offered my seat (and my ability to potentially write) to someone who looked in need of a sit-down. A couple of curt attempts at friendly Fringe-chatting, and then we’re led deeper into the tunnels underneath the Treasury, walls of rough sandstone and floors suffering with grit. The group reached a small square room – we couldn’t all fit inside, so a number of us were left peeking through a doorway from the slightly larger rectangular room we were in, standing on tippy-toes or peeking between bodies to see what was going on.
In the small room stood Dianne Reid, dressed in a thin white hazmat suit (sans helmet). She starts pushing herself around – into walls, off of walls, up to the very edges of the audience. Her movements look chaotic, yet controlled, and she’s quietly – but clearly – babbling to herself.
She’s not happy about growing old, by the sounds of it… she’s constantly sneering at her own age. But there’s more in her actions than her language – a whimpering desperation, a tempered anxiety seems to guide her movements. And as she moves between the smaller and the larger rooms (causing the audience to rearrange themselves – who was once struggling to see became the centre of attention), she also shifts the medium somewhat – in one location, the white hazmat suit becomes a projection screen, and Reid trembles beneath the image of someone crawling over her.
As she runs up against more walls, scrapes along more floors, the suit becomes worn and ripped. Eventually its use has been served and it is removed, revealing the floral dress underneath… and the tone of the piece changes a little. With skin shed, everything seems a little bit more accessible now; there’s not as much need in the movements. Reid still performs in the audience’s face, but rather than feeling confronting, it almost feels a little… well, joyous.
And then it’s over. At thirty minutes, Dance Interrogations feels perfectly timed: I left feeling satisfied and a little confused, but that’s pretty much the way I like it. I’m not really sure what I expected going into the performance, but I’m certain that I liked the rumination that it conjured in me.