Saturday, 10 September 2011

Human Interest Story @Belvoir Theatre


Deeply indebted to my friend Dave for inviting me to another Belvoir performance. This time to see Human Interest Story a dance performance exploring our relationship with modern media.

The programme notes start with:
"Human Interest Story aims to synthesise the many relationships between news and our experience"
Perhaps if you are some flouncy art critic who sees meanings that aren't really there.

That rather harsh start might make you think I didn't like the performance. However, it did start well with the six dancers speaking in unison about three modern news stories; the civil unrest in Syria, Amy Whinehouse's death and the Norwegian massacre. Not light subjects, but through their movement and staccato speaking the actors, almost, injected some humour into the topics. I say almost, because it would have been inappropriate to mock fun at such dark subjects. They did it well.

I didn't think the play was exploring any particular meanings, but it was an interesting way to be brought up to date with recent current affairs. There was more humour when they showed a fictional news broadcast (read by an SBS presenter?) of stories about cats getting stuck in trees in Melbourne.

And then it all went a bit odd. One of the cast had scrunched up newspapers stuffed down the back of his shirt and up his trouser legs. After the scrunching, a repetitive fifteen minute loop of rather bizarre dancing started.

I wasn't the only one in the audience to be getting restless. Up to the loop, the performance had consisted of six dancers. During the repetition I couldn't even console myself by watching the cute Jessica Wong who mysteriously disappeared. She might have had too much professional integrity!

I love the Belvoir for supporting young actors, new Australian scripts and for their wonderful stages. However, this one might have been a bit too different for me.

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