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How To Lose Sight



 Presented by: SHH Company in association with Blacktown ArtsVenue: Audience meet at Riverside Theatres FoyerThursday 1 December, 2011 How To Lose SightShould theatre or performance art make you uncomfortable? If you are uncomfortable because it makes you think, challenges established notions or senses, or pushes you to draw on personal experiences then perhaps the answer is yes. If you like intimate, close experimental performance this may be your cup of tea. These three stories are garnered from people with visual impairments. This work is the second in a trilogy on the theme of losing sight or being blind. Director and composer Michael Imielski has work shopped the pieces through improvisation with an obviously committed and dedicated group of actors. The results are mixed. The venue is an important part of the work. It is a small house, built in the early 20th century. It is used to good effect. There are different tableaus enacted for very small groups in each of the rooms. Then the groups rotate to each room in turn. Each performance had a different physical design (Lucy Wang) and soundscape.  Containment within the rooms of a small house makes for performance art that almost forces audience voyeurism at times. Some of the work is sledgehammer heavy symbolism using props, strange movement design and physicality to convey how it may feel to be blind in a sighted world.  Chloe Fournier in a paper littered room full of chairs had to deliver some bad puns “I’ll never go on a blind date again”… “I didn’t see it coming” in the midst of her physical contortions. Some glimpses are light and almost poetic, and the work which seemed most polished and effective was that of Odile LeClezio with Julia Landrey and Gideon Payten-Griffiths. The sound and music in this story makes the telling powerful and at times almost hypnotic. A woman blind from birth sees colours and feels dreams whilst immersed in a physical series of fishing nets. The third tale of a man blinded by an intruder, enacted with vigor by Barton Williams and  Pollyanna Nowicki and with impressive simplicity by Peter Maple and Shauntelle Benjamin was promising but unbalanced. The varied input of many co-designers is evident and makes the three separate works uneven with no attempt to meld the experiences into a whole. However there were some promising elements particularly in music and sound and the group should be congratulated on their enthusiasm and innovation. How To Lose Sight is playing until December 10Bookings at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.    


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