Tuesday, 20 March 2001

Scenes of the Beginning from the End , NYID

Not Yet It's Difficultat Public Office Car Park
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
March 20, 2001

We are meaning makers. Our little synapses go mad hooking up seemingly disconnected images or sequences and making meaning of them.

Contemporary performance groups such as Not Yet It's Difficult, demand an audience some intellectual work to pull the threads of themes together.

In their latest work, performed in the still active car park of the Public Office in West Melbourne, audience participates in an event that combines video installation, performance art, contemporary dance and  a parody of Neighbours.

The themes forming the glue for all these forms revolve around notions of how and why we live where we do. We begin our video and movement journey in the desert then travel via images and dialogue to the suburbs. Then we take a video train to the city and end up right back in the Public Office building again.

The opening sequence is clearly the most successful component of the performance. It is the scene in which the various elements of performance are most cohesive and most creatively combined by director David Pledger, dramaturg, Peter Eckersall and the ensemble of seven actors.

We are guided upstairs, warned about safety issues and exits, ushered to surprisingly comfortable seating. Images of the outback are set behind a complex and fascinating movement sequence that conjures thoughts of desert creatures, lizards and birds. Evocative sound design (Roger Alsop) and stark lighting completes the picture.

The very end of the final sequence , after we return to the screen after out journey around the suburban stereotypes and soap opera, is also effective linkage of forms.

The performers (Paul Bongiovanni, Greg Ulfan, Tamara Saulwick, Louise Taube, Tony Briggs, Natalie Cursio, Cazarine Barry) appear on screen via live video cameras, mocking and mimicking the office workers who are trailing past us out of the car park in their cars.

There are some very entertaining moments in the suburbs with teenagers and adults arguing, families living out the Neighbours dream and even a Japanese and Vietnamese video version of Charlene and Scott in Ramsay Street.

However, the critique of lifestyle, city and suburbia lacks depth. Some of the acting is limited but the physical work and choreography are delightful.

By Kate Herbert

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