Posts tagged Adelaide Festival Centre
Our Mob is a state-wide celebration of regional and remote South Australian artists. This is its fifth year and derives from a desire to develop a sustainable and dynamic indigenous arts industry, now enshrined in the Statewide Indigenous Community Artists Development (SICAD) program. This year’s exhibition features Ngarrindjeri artists from the Riverland and Coorong.
There are perhaps two stand-out feature works that certainly warrant the time to visit. Major Sumner’s Tree Canoe sits in the midst of the works resting on sand on the floor. A Ngarrindjeri elder, Sumner describes his canoe as a homage to the tree from which it is cut, being more than 100 years old, and to children as an example of both technique and culture. It is certainly impressive and as clear as anything could be of the close inter-relationship between the land and its uses by indigenous communities for thousands of years.
Beaver Lennon’s Break of Dawn (attached above) is notable for two reasons. First, it is one of the few works on display clearly borne of white man styles and techniques, Jack Absalom would be proud of the gums and the spinafex. The heavy, dewy atmospherics of the work with the dark under sides of the clouds, tinged with the dawn’s crimsons, pose the question of whether this is about the on-coming of a cultural storm or the dawn of new, brighter day. The second notable feature is that this work won the inaugural SA Indigenous Acquisitive Art Award of $5000 (thanks to an anonymous donor) that sees the work go into the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Indigenous Art Collection.
Also of note is the exquisite brush work of Roger (Bushfire) Saunders in his Spirits of Change and the raw talent of 9 year old, Ella Ackland’s Snake Protector, an acrylic on bark work of a snake slithering for safety.
Finally, of considerable interest is Narelle Unmeopa’s Emu Egg. Her daughter’s Emu egg is also there, a brightly coloured collectible, but Narelle’s exhibits extraordinary craftsmanship being symbols left as shell after all else has been scraped and sanded away down to the finest skin or membrane before reaching the egg’s yoke – no paint applied.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
Image: Beaver Lennon, The Break of Dawn, acrylic on canvas, 2010
A group of people sit. Each is unique but all share in a sense of exhaustion. The glare of fluorescent lights overhead creates the appropriate institutionalised atmosphere. This is a “rest home” and an air of boredom abounds. For the next hour, the beliefs, experiences and ideals of the motley bunch of characters are explored, with themes of war, faith, and destiny rising to the surface.
Stone/Castro has produced a piece which uses theatre, dance and visual imagery to create a world of desolation and confusion, with a flicker of hope thrown in for good measure. Though, at times, the tangled nature of the piece can be a little trying, there are several affecting montages and some engaging dialogue.
The quality of the performances varied; both across the cast and within individual characterisations. As the returned soldier haunted by his past and desperate for a different future, Nick Bennett gave a strong central performance, though could have given more fire to the part, particularly in the flashes of anger and desperation.
Lewis Rankin’s portrayal of the young man who finds himself caught up in this surreal world and risks allowing the residents’ nightmares to become his own, is also commendable; with particularly impressive control shown during his featured dance piece.
Though probably not appealing to those who prefer their theatre more straight forward and plot driven, this show incorporates both powerful and humorous imagery and presents many ideas worthy of consideration and rumination.
Kryztoff Rating 3K
The publicity image of a prone Superman may suggest Superheroes, which enjoys its world premiere at the Space this week, is a light hearted romps. On the contrary, this Stone / Castro production explores weightier issues reflecting on war and exploring man’s vision for the domination of the earth.
In an unknown rest home, six characters regaining their strength to return to their lives the way they were, come together including a Muslim who has been in a coma for 20 years, a born-again Christian, a pregnant woman who has been in jail and a soldier fresh back from the Iraq war. Together, they project their vision for the future onto a young boy who is there doing work experience.
As fiction and reality blur we witness the madness and trauma of war through the soldier’s hallucinations, turning the characters to saviours and heroes for hope and salvation and faith and drugs for escape and shelter.
Directed by Jo Stone (who also plays the role of the pregnant woman) and written by Paulo Castro, Superheroes promises to be thought provoking theatre and worthy of exploration from Wednesday to Saturday evening (with a Friday 1pm matinee.)
György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre is a very dark look at a modern, perverse, lost society in terminal decay about to be wiped out by Nekrotzar. It grotesquely, sarcastically takes a mocking, ironic look at mortality and death. Set on, inside and around a giant female body, complete with tongue movement, which adds to this bizarre opera, sure is a grand opening to this years Adelaide Festival.
The music score just adds to this insane artwork, opening to jarring car horns, yet so fitting, brought with enormous energy and force, conducted exemplary by Robert Houssart. The only critique on the music would be the pit not allowing the true sound of all instruments to carry to the audience.
The set piece, the crouching body, brilliantly built with arms, legs, buttocks which reveal inner organs and a moving head, is also used as a projection screen for video footage and lighting effects giving 3D a new or should we say true meaning.
The performers pull this 4 scene, anti-anti-opera, off in a way that makes it all seem real and a perfectly told drama, yet obviously enjoying themselves.
Kryztoff Rating: 4K