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Night Time #1, Brown Council Night Time #1, Brown Council
photo Caitlin Newton-Broad
ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON, THE FIRST OF APRIL, I WAS NEARLY WIPED OUT FROM BEHIND BY A RED HOLDEN SS SEDAN. IT RIPPED PAST ME AT THE LIGHTS WHERE KING STREET BECOMES THE PRINCES HIGHWAY, DRAGGING OFF A HOTTED UP BLACK UTE (ALSO A HOLDEN) IN THE LANE NEXT TO IT. I HAD JUST ENOUGH TIME TO SEE THE UTE SPIN OUT OF CONTROL, MOUNT THE KERB AND WRAP ITSELF AROUND A TELEGRAPH POLE. IT WAS FAST, BRUTAL, AND OVER INCREDIBLY QUICKLY, AND WITH A CLEAR WINNER AND A CLEAR LOSER.

Something similar must have been envisioned by the Performance Space conveners of Night Time #1, the first in a planned cycle of events structured as a head-to-head contest between krumping skeletons, folk troupes, VJs and interpretive dancers in the cavernous foyer space of the recently opened CarriageWorks.

The stage was a boxing ring, each round was limited to a breakneck three minutes, and winners were garlanded with medals by Zoe Coombs-Marr, who was both umpire and commentator to the public gallery. However, one of the things that differentiated this night of performance art from a brutal car crash is that everyone came out a winner. All the participants were awarded trophies, and a general atmosphere of courtesy prevented anyone from getting heckled, in spite of the frail separation between the audience and the stage.

Unconditional love is damaging. It results in a weak constitution at best, and suffocation at worst. So I’m going to mark out my own exclusive set of winners. The clear audience favourite in the first half was Poss + The Frank, who performed a riveting duet dance to the song “Wait till you see my dick, bitch” with one performer in swimmers and the other in a giant pink octopus suit. Honourable mention also goes out to Renny Kodgers’ karaoke cover of “We’ve got tonight”, to Shane Haseman and Agatha Gothe-Snape’s dance with suprematist signal flags to the constrained fury of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalised”, and to a convulsively controlled Matthew Day. Tony Schwensen, all the while, was pelting a tennis ball repetitively down a hallway, with thwok and grunt amplified through the foyer. The piece was perhaps best described as a sort of marriage of 70s conceptual art with contemporary Australian suburbia, and very fitting for a sports night.

During half time, cheerleaders handed out oranges, although vodka would have helped, and participants and spectators smoked nervous cigarettes. Then Regina Heilmann told a funny story about road rage and a chicken that could speak German, and everyone laughed. This was topped by Martin Del Amo and Julie-Anne Long doing an incredible drunk dance. It takes a lot of sober field research to do a good drunk dance. You can’t actually be drunk when you do it, because the gestures have to capture not just how people look, but also how they feel when they’re burning up the dancefloor at three-thirty in the morning. Del Amo did it so well I kept thinking I could smell the spirit in his sweat.
Night Time #1, Renny Kodgers Night Time #1, Renny Kodgers
photo Caitlin Newton-Broad
Best and Fairest goes to Brian Fuata and Agatha Gothe-Snape respectively, or the other way round, for amicably ending their collaborative career in public. Legends of the Folk Tradition sang a song. Four women (Brown Council) in skeleton leotards drank a litre of milk each to the Kelis’ hip hop hit “Milkshake” and then gyrated violently until they puked milk, really. Karen Therese and Lizzie Thompson got a lot of people to kiss in public, which was gross but fascinating, but not nearly as gross as Brown Council who blinded us with their brown-eyes from a panel van that slowly cruised past the entrance—not once but several times.

Brecht once said that his ideal stage would be a boxing ring: a combative space in which anarchy is played out in a square of light, people become performers by climbing through the ropes, and the public shout and shake their fists at the stage. Night Time #1 offered all the trappings of an elimination boxing match, but the audience was too damn nice to respond off cue. It’s a pity that the former workers of the Eveleigh Street Rail Yards weren’t there to take in the show.


Night Time #1, A Night Of Short Works, coordinators Lara Thoms, Trevor Brown, Rosie Dennis; Performance Space, CarriageWorks, Sydney, April 1

RealTime issue #78 April-May 2007 pg. 38

© Adam Jasper; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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