Rip, Drag & Ruminate
Graduating Dancers of Adelaide College of the Arts 2015 @ Adelaide College of the Arts – Main Theatre
2:00pm, Thu 12 Mar 2015
I walked into the third of my Rip, Drag & Ruminate experiences (after 2013 and 2014) with patchy expectations: previous graduating classes have provided some memorable highlights amidst some more forgettable material.
And the first piece, Patches of Society, succinctly summarises all my R,D&R experiences in one twenty-minute blast. Split into three distinct sections (musically – but apparently not thematically – linked), it opens with a more theatrical movement that introduces a series of characters via voiceover, and attempts to break the fourth wall by pulling one performer – introduced as “Paul” – from the audience. Jim is a narcissistic tennis-playing stereotype; Sally – now ex-Paul – is Facebook-popular but lonely.
The opening feels fractured, broken… and the voiceover annoyed the shit out of me (“oblivious by the fact” it said when introducing The Pink Man, raising my hackles). There’s constant references to Sally’s previous relationship to Paul, to her privacy settings, et cetera, in a Facebook-centric narrative that aims to examine the role of social media in modern society. Movement was fine, with some genuinely exciting bits, though irregular placements of dancers during the third section had me wondering about the focus of the choreography. But the lighting of the performance space seemed to be an afterthought – dancers were often caught in awkward shadows, especially at the edge of the stage… and the use of live cameras to project aspects onto a screen was distracting.
The second piece, personwhowatches toomuchtelevision, fared much better. There’s lots of sliding and climbing and crawling over a malleable set, with focus more on theme than narrative. Great use of lighting – especially using old television sets as a source – and lithe performances really made this work.
Again, Rip, Drag & Ruminate provided a patchy experience… but the second half of the show was genuinely interesting, quality dance.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 12, 2015