[20020056] Bone Flute

Bone Flute

MAU Dance @ Playhouse

7:00pm, Sat 9 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: Sloooooooow

Groo, this was hard work. Comprised of performers from throughout the Pacific region, MAU Dance (led by Lemi Ponifasio, who appears as a shaman-type character throughout the piece) put on a visually dense piece of dance which is only marred by… well, the lack of actual movement.

“Bone Flute” opens with Ponifasio’s shamen calling out from the stage, to be answered from a voice in the audience. Then, slowly, a group of warriors climb onto the stage. Eventually, they reach some pre-defined positions, where they break into a ritualistic dance. Their places onstage are then taken by the “Women of Sandstone”, who perform dance sporadically between beams of light emerging from the wings. So far, so good.

But then comes the birth. A body appears in the pool central to the stage, and for the next half hour it moves almost impercetibly slowly. Really. From foetal ball to crouching, without too much wayward movements: half an hour. I actually nodded off to sleep, waking as my chin hit my chest, and nothing had changed onstage.

Anyway, at this stage I completely lost the plot – the shaman returned, and appeared to cut his own scrotum open, spilling large eels onto the stage. No joke. The eels flopped around onstage; two fell onto the auditorium floor with a loud plop. The shaman collapses, and five balls (stars?) burning bright blue were lifted to the sky.

What the bloody hell was all that about? Maybe if I hadn’t fallen asleep I may have figured it out, but I doubt it. It sure was pretty, though – it’s just that bloody hard work was required of the audience to earn the nice visuals.

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