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Glenn Hudson (Definitives) NON PLAYABLE CHARACTER
Nefeli KentoniConstellation of Awakening
Yee Kei Yuki Chung On The Other Side《彼岸》

In my questions about the role of audiences as spectators, I have often found that the audience plays as much as an active participant as the performers. Tonight’s triple bill challenged this notion, where coincidentally, all found themes of world-building from unique perspectives. On The Other Side《彼岸》 explores this on an individual level, speaking about grief and guilt. Intensity of emotions conveyed in large dynamic movements resonated so deeply within me, I felt close to tears. It may have been my headspace as I was watching the piece, but with every anguished breath the dancers took, and every push and pull of the actions between them, I felt as though I was with them in that space they had created on stage, and they were pulling my own grief out of me.

Comparatively, NON PLAYABLE CHARACTER draws me into a world of choices, utilising a large diverse cast and an ambiance of bird song. This contrasts with the underlying electro-funk music that suggests a manmade world. Popping substyles of Animation and Strobing are incorporated, and the fact that the work sits sandwiched between two more contemporary-minded pieces is also significant in representing the multitude of angles that dance can portray. The piece introduces itself as a choice between two characters, and when the large cast enters, I have to choose between the perspective of only one performer, or the collective. And perhaps that’s what being a 'non playable character' feels like.

Constellation of Awakening
viscerally creates a world of darkness and discomfort, inviting the audience to close their eyes for the entire performance. My eyes stay open, and I am condemned to witness scenes of a person plummeting to death (which the audience laughed at), and a naked girl in a spotlight (which the audience was too tense and ashamed to laugh at). As much as the narrator describes the world of darkness as a painful, unseeing place, in that moment I wished they had turned the spotlight off. Because in darkness lies not knowing and not acknowledging. Audiences as observers, will never acknowledge the sheep bleating for their lives. We much rather have our eyes shut, never waking, never asleep.

Brian Toh

Eclecticism is the byword for Resolution, but it is hard to imagine three more different works than this trio of ensemble pieces, with dance groups ranging in size from five to fifteen, but the distinctive quality of each work was undone by the need for greater editorial control.

On the Other Side
opened with five figures lined upstage, wearing monks’ robes, while downstage white flowers rested on a shroud lit by a semi-circle of candles. This mix of Hammer horror, Memento Mori and religious ritual morphed into a sequence of powerful dance in two consecutive male solos, which escalated into an angry duet before softening into an expression of profound grief. To conclude, a man spoke indistinctly about loss, as if confiding in a loved one by his or her graveside, against an aural backdrop of birdsong. The work possessed the best movement quality of the evening.

Birdsong carried over into NON PLAYABLE CHARACTER, which started strongly as a faceless puppeteer exercised his hands in fluid movement before manipulating two acolytes - one suited, another robotic. This segued into a long poorly spaced diagonal by the aforementioned large ensemble, which bore no connection to the opening. The lack of credits suggested a work that was late in its preparation; an assumption given credence by that early quality becoming lost in the mass.

Constellation of Awakening
was a surreal but overlong collection of thoughts and feelings about sleep. The first few minutes of empty stage in darkness was occupied by a soporific and poetic voiceover and if that hadn’t worked, five performers then played (comically) at being the proverbial jumping sheep that people count when sleep eludes them. Nightmares also featured with imagery of falling, losing body parts and a funny sequence of the vulnerability in being naked in public. A seated man expelled pearls from his mouth which was a neat metaphor for this bracelet of innovative and well-articulated ideas. It just needed to be a bit tighter.

Graham Watts