The Blue Room Theatre
Review: Matthew Sykes
As the audience enters the theatre, half are asked to pose for an impromptu portrait.
Lauren Holmwood, visual artist and one third of tonight's cast, is making a note of your presence.
All seated, she scatters the sketches like confetti around a hunched, hooded figure (Emma Fishwick).
The audience for a moment settle, dividing their attention between the eerily anonymous character ambling around the paper scrap detritus and a projected film depicting a third player (Nicole Ward) approaching the theatre. Through the door she eventually sprints, completing the surrealist tableau.
This is only the beginning of Tracing HUman.
The show, comprised of contemporary dance, theatrical riffing and visual art, invites you to think about the potential that lies dormant at the juncture of every decision. How did one choice change a day, a week, a life? How are we all, like the memories which constitute a being, connected to one another?
With so much going on you would excuse the show for seeming at times a little confused.
The cast handle the glut of ruminative subtexts triumphantly, though, using the arsenal of assorted media to tie together disparate strands of introspective musing.
We see the transience of our passage through life hypostatised with chalk, enjoy solo and synchronised dance pieces choreographed and performed by Fishwick and Ward, and watch wax crayons melted onto a canvas by a hairdryer (a Rorschach test, I'm sure).
Remarkably for a performance concerned with big, brooding questions, the show is not without a sense of humour. Mercifully, this isn't the matte black or densely satirical wit you might have come to expect as a bribe for going on a bleak existential journey (think about those moments of levity housed within France's most crushing cinematic experiences). It is rather a playful, almost impish dalliance with the absurdity of our situation. It's a big hug, and one you're grateful for.
Tracing HUman is a poetics of the banal illuminated by the electric currents of our own being's potential.
It's required viewing for a world currently obsessed with reminding itself that it only lives once – a timely reminder that there are, and in many extraordinary senses, lives other to our own.
Tracing HUman runs until Wednesday, February 6 and is part of Fringe World 2013. Tickets are available from www.fringeworld.com.au.