A more illuminating experience than you might expect
The show begins...
Standing side by side with strangers in a quiet, darkened room of Erskineville's PACT theatre, not knowing what was about to transpire but eager for it to begin. I soon see an unusually tall, towering being wrapped in a sculptural dress, adorned with a traversing ribbon of lights, with numerous curled bodies scattered across the floor below her. The tall being starts to dance, twisting her arms in angular movements, while the cyborg-like bodies stir and as the music's momentum and volume builds, the room is brought to life with the beat.
I am immersed into a surreal and mesmerising scene with the ethereal beings either locking into precise positions or falling into a heap. The fitting lighting and inventive costumes add to themes of beauty, identity, past and future and the impact of the digital age on the human connection.
The cyborgs dance, twist and weave wearing their shiny futuristic white wigs lit up at the temple, and intricately bright light-helmets. A farcical attempt at applying make-up to each other, results in deliberately unnatural faces peering back at me. My attention is repeatedly taken to another part of the space to witness the fusion between humans and machines.
As I surround the android-like specimens and am invited to join them in their predicament. Robotic smiles, awkward hugs and high fives from the dancers gain empathy, laughter or trepidation from the crowd. The element of touch heightens the energy in the room, something not experienced by simply sitting in a chair watching a stage.
The dance duet that concludes the one-hour show is sublime, both characters adorned with lighted braids used as first as leashes then becoming tendrils flowing and swinging from their heads, unplugged and what seemed to me, to be finally free.
The refreshing thing is that I am made a part of it. I feel less like an audience member with every minute that passes. Out of my comfort zone, I enjoy the idea of connection. I leave feeling the solution may not always be as simple as switching off, from humanity or technology. Is it possible to engage technology and win? In this digital age, are we allowed a space for the human experience to re-emerge?
Thought provoking and evocative
Thank you, Angela Hamilton. You have excelled in bringing us an 'immersive and interactive contemporary dance theatre work'. Shows like Twisted Element's Opus, which was a part of the Sydney Fringe Festival this year, are proof that Sydney can remain a contemporary city and a very exciting place to be.