Playground @ Colour Cosmetica
9:00pm, Sat 7 Mar 2009
You know what it’s like when you love someone so much that it hurts when it’s unrequited? When you shower them with kisses, and they keep pushing you away?
That’s me and Playground, that is.
When I saw them in [interrobang] it was a revelation. The little fantasy world in my mind, where I’m some sort of ultra-successful producer, spunking art upon the world such that people look at me in awe and adulation… well, Playground’s dance plays a part in that. Three years later that memory still lives on.
Wearing Away Our Lips? A bit disappointing. And this performance, Capture? Frustrating.
Capture is a series of three pieces, all featuring one of the Playground principals, Tess Appleby. The first piece sees her joined by Dan Hales & Melissa Stupel in an interesting series of movements that seem to owe more to the circus garb that we can see in The Garden than to contemporary dance. I got my first taste of a video intermission, during which the dancers stood still at the side of the space; it’s very odd, watching a video of a dance being performed when the dancers are right there.
The second piece sees Tess & Dan return in a segment where She holds Him captive, manipulating Him as She sees fit; again, this is interspersed with several pre-recorded bits. These, at least, appeared to have a bit of thematic legitimacy… well, the first one did, anyway. Was She just showing Him what she was doing when he was blindfolded, to create a sense of helplessness? No matter – by the time the third such video was shown, I was almost shaking my head in disbelief. Obviously Playground have an artistic agenda with their persistent use of video… but I don’t know what it is. I can’t see it, I can’t understand it. And I want to, I really do… because my instinct is to tell them to stop. But I know nothing about art, let alone dance, so I’ll just vent my frustration right here.
Getting back to my opening analogy: I’m sitting there, willing myself to love Capture, but the direction just seems to keep slapping me in the face. But then comes the look, the smile, the giggle with a playful toss of the head that sends hair cascading across beautiful eyes that makes you fall in love again: the third Capture. From out of a box of memories comes a series of photographs, and Tess dances with the memories, plays them back, all the while shadowdancing with two walls of the tight Colour Cosmetica space, contemplations in reflections from the back wall coming to meet me. It’s utterly enchanting, thoroughly beautiful, and I’m lost. Again.
So I leave on a high, but as I type this I’m forced to reflect a little. The first two Captures showed promise, but interrupt my appreciation with decisions I cannot fathom. Those last ten minutes? Magical. Utterly, utterly breathtaking.
Like I said, frustrating. But the aftertaste is so very, very sweet.