The Age I’m In (Festival page)
Force Majeure @ Dunstan Playhouse
8:00pm, Sat 8 Mar 2008
This was great. Simple as that.
Now, I could post this blog entry off and be done with it, moving on to the next show in the queue, but I’d feel guilty about it later on and – worse – have committed to the aether a bunch of words that in no way allow me to reconstruct the performance in my head. So I shall, in my own inimitable way, elaborate.
The Age I’m In seems to address the issues of identity with respect to age. Using ten performers aged from early-teens to well-grayed, and using audio snippets from interviews of people aged 9 to 83, we’re treated to a cross-discipline display that sees the performers miming to dialog one minute, dancing the next, and manipulating video screens the next.
There’s contemporary dance for the young ‘uns. There’s ballroom dance for the oldies. There’s intimate and tender physical interactions for everyone. There’s moments of humour when the youngest girl mimes the vocal delivery of the oldest man… and vice versa. The hand-held video screens are fantastic – pre-recorded video plays whilst the performers move the screens by hand over other performers, creating a perverse x-ray-like effect. Naked bodies beneath clothes, emotions exposed.
Performances are ace – from the confidence of the youngest girl, to the refined restricted movements of the oldest man, everything feels personal and honest and… correct. Their miming to pre-recorded voices is almost flawless, and – humour aside – utterly believable. And the direction is stunning… there’s one scene where three women track up and down each other’s bodies with the video screens, exposing their naked beauty, whilst the audio imparts a feeling of fragility. Over the other side of the stage sits the youngest girl, watching the other women with a mixture of interest and trepidation.
And the ending – magnificent. The eldest of the cast, spotlight front-and-centre. A light, misting rain creates a sheet at the front of the stage… the rest of the cast join him, and you get the feeling it’s a cleansing ritual. Utterly moving, it perfectly capped off a wonderful show; whilst it’s not the deepest piece of dance or theatre, it is a glorious marriage of both – with a nice bit of technology wedged in. Compelling stuff, indeed.