Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe 2015

Excavate, Adelaide Fringe Festival 2015

0 Comments 07 March 2015

Excavate is a contemplation of place and purpose that allows the audience to form their own meanings. The dance performance set atop the Edments Building off Gawler Place offers a new perspective of urban experience and identity. This work is for anyone willing to engage with the symbolic and conceptual, a welcome respite from more traditional fringe shows.

The audience is led barefoot across an earthen path to surround the performance space. Performer Gareth Hart lies foetal on a pile of earth strewn across the concrete rooftop. The figure rises spasmodically to silhouette against the skyline as the sun begins to set. This venue is arresting: throughout the performance the sun drops to illuminate the CBD skyline, the hills, and finally the clouds. As the performer’s motions become smoother the final wisps of pink fade from the sky, until finally the audience is alone, contemplating the chilly CBD landscape.

Sound design by Edward Willoughby adds emotion and focus to the dance, driving the rhythm of Hart’s movement. Three screens are set up at the foot of the performance space intermittently displaying sepia images, but their purpose is unclear and only adds anxiety to the work. Symbolic gesture and identity making is a key part of the performance, offering catharsis to the character. Occasionally Hart utters indistinct phrases that hint at a deeper meaning the audience can’t quite grasp. The performance is beautiful, well planned and emotive but Hart seems insecure about his work, providing too much information for an experiential piece.

Excavate is a unique opportunity to view the Adelaide CBD anew but the dance and venue should be allowed to speak for themselves. For those with an open mind it is a very rewarding experience that stands out amongst this year’s Fringe offerings.

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