Packed with action and polystyrene
By Xanthe Kleinig
FROM the moment the first spotlight brightens the stage, it’s clear this is no typical dance performance. In that light is a lone man, wearing a polo shirt, and he’s talking.
Force Majeure are known for pushing the genre of dance to its limit, and this production is no exception. Four multi-disciplinary artists are variously actors and dancers as they delve into the extremes of human experience. Surtitles are projected on to the stage to provide documentary background for each segment.
First is the story of air hostess Vesna Vulovic who miraculously survives an Pushing the genre: Vincent Crowley and Elizabeth Ryan aircraft explosion over Czechoslovakia. She emerges from drifts of polystyrene filling piled on stage, the fall of the foam exaggerating each movement as it fills the spaces left by her injured body. Her rescuer uses a table fan like a snowplough, clearing her way to leave what appears to be a snowy mountaintop.
The foam is a versatile set, prop and effect all in one it becomes the earth over Beaconsfield miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb, the clouds around a paraglider sucked into a thunderstorm and lottery money won by a Scottish mail worker.
Seven different stories are covered in this ambitious production, which also includes Philippe Petit’s highwire walk at the World Trade Centre, Bob Beamon’s recordmaking long jump at the 1968 Olympic Games, and US fireman’s Donny Herbert’s awakening after 10 years in a coma.
With so much great material, it seems a shame each of these moments of extremity are packed into the tight, one hour time frame.