Review | Amanda Lancaster
Cuts leave scars, scars leave tracks, tracks can be followed.
Shadow Lines; Stephen Kinnane
Kinnane writes of the lines and boundaries created and imposed upon society, how the definitions of these niche areas in physicality and social structure can be of such an inflexible and narrowly definitive nature around us that they in turn create echos and ripples within us which is what Kinnane calls shadow lines.
Shadow lines are the places within our own minds that hold certain beliefs and make up our own sense of self and belonging or alienation. These are the area’s of negotiation, cognitive understanding and connectivity the lines we draw, cross, follow or erase throughout our history stories and lives.
Co3 has taken on the bold and heady task of putting some of Kinnane’s philosophical ideologies about lines and boundaries, how they are created, changed and altered not just in a sense of the physical or geographical but also our very base thought function an interactive systems as human beings.
The Line tells of the often forgotten, unspoken and unfortunate period in WA’s historical background that saw a geographical segregation line on a map cause a traumatic long standing shadow line of oppression drawn between colonising parties of the time and the Nyungar people of Perth.
Created by Co3 founding director and one of the foremost professionals in the field of dance to date Raewyn Hill and associate artist and co-director the Award winning Mark Howett it’s not hard to see why The Line is getting rave reviews from audiences.
Featuring an almost skeleton cast for such a huge topic the show features just a trio of – as always – exquisitely talented dancers. Nyungar dancer and guest artist Ian Wilkes, CO3 founding dancer and guest artist Andrew Searle and last but not least Co3 founding dancer and artist Katherine Gurr. Alongside and also interspersed quite literally at times during the shows performance The Line also stars the renowned musical artists classical-accordionist James Crabb and composer/musical director Eden Mulholland.
The performance is a dense textured layering of haunting melancholy and sadness which is at times quite palpable to the point of bringing audience members to literal tears. This serious vibe and often unrelenting mood of tension is beautifully handled. The music, lighting, movement and everything that has bought the audience so powerfully up to a single moment of what feels like almost breaking point is then cleverly broken up at repetitive intervals with an almost black humoured slapstick violence and humour akin to that of a vaudevillian shows aesthetic and then just as suddenly bought to a halting stop.
Cue the slow motion, silent, screaming, nightmarish, captured realism of violence and trauma played out with such aesthetic beauty and grace of movement that one might be forgiven the momentary lapse that this is all stemming from our actual historical and cultural make up.
The use of minimalist setting design is both beautiful in look and almost eerie in feel, a hand full of unadorned chain link swing sets hang and sway gently seemingly by themselves from the rafters, condensed lighting barely shines down in narrow pyramids and lines. The choices one assume are made to further heighten the segregated elements between light and dark and does so with subtle elegance.
Contemporary dance for some may be hard to understand to define what is happening within the narrative flow, however Co3 have once again taken an often hard to swallow topic and laid it out for the world to see.
It is important I think to mention that Co3 have beautifully taken the philosophical inspiration of Kinnane’s work, the delicate subject matter of our Australian history and amalgamated the elements of this show, not to show u something concrete, not to tell you what to think or feel and not to define this moment in our cultural background with their own line of understanding but to ask the audience to perhaps consider where they draw their own lines from now on.
Whatever you do, do not miss this thought provoking heart aching performance.
WHEN: 16th – 19th May 2019 | 7:30pm & 4:00pm
WHERE: Heath Ledger Theatre | State Theatre Centre of WA
INFO: Tickets $55 | Duration 60 mins | DANCE