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 Da Contents H2

September 11 2013
Happy as Larry—poor Larry
Fiona Carter: Shaun Parker & Company, Happy As Larry

September 5 2013
Ethereal exchanges
Mike Bodnar: Polytoxic, Tradewinds

September 4 2013
A Winning punch
Nicola Fearn: Roslyn Oades, I’m Your Man

Not so strange strangers
Nicola Fearn: Polytoxic, Trade Winds

August 26 2013
Hands up, head down!
Fiona Carter: Roslyn Oades, I'm Your Man

Happiness against the odds
Kaye Hall: Shaun Parker & Company, Happy as Larry

August 26 2013
Larry is sombre
Nicola Fearn: Shaun Parker & Company, Happy as Larry

DARWIN FESTIVAL
Shaken out of the everyday
Nicola Fearn: Yumi Umiumare with Theatre Gumbo, DasSHOKU SHAKE!


The not so sweet science
Mike Bodnar: Roslyn Oades, I'm Your Man

Vigorous ruminations on happiness
Mike Bodnar: Shaun Parker & Company, Happy as Larry

August 23 2013
Art shocks, capitalism quakes!
Kaye Hall: Yumi Umiumare & Theatre Gumbo, DasSHOKU SHAKE!

DARWIN FESTIVAL
August 23 2013
Expectations and cultural crossovers
Fiona Carter: Tracks Dance Company, Zombies In the Banyan Tree


Kecak, breakdancing, tension & harmony
Kyle Walmsley: Tracks Dance Company, Zombies In the Banyan Tree

 

Shaken out of the everyday

Nicola Fearn: Yumi Umiumare with Theatre Gumbo, DasSHOKU SHAKE!

Nicola Fearn is a theatre maker, director, performer and teacher (Australia & UK). She is Artistic Director of Business Unusual, a Darwin-based company specialising in visual, physical theatre and is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts postgraduate theatre course.

DasSHOKU SHAKE! DasSHOKU SHAKE!
photo Vikk Shayen
If you want to be seized and dropped into a bizarre and cacophonous world of extreme entertainment then see DasShoku SHAKE!—a Japanese Australian butoh cabaret extravaganza. Inspired by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan this production is an exploration of the shaking of the physical world, the psychological self and culture.

In a series of butoh/cabaret acts linked by Yumi Umiumare’s character searching for “the Light” in a world that is unravelling, the audience is exposed to a heightened and exuberant subverting of cultural stereotypes—the Japanese businessman frantically bowing and pressing his business card on members of the audience before losing his intestines, the mother dressed in outrageous pink, vomiting at the smell of her child and inhaling air freshener, the very ‘nice’ and too clean American girl/boy pair, fast-food culture, office workers, game show hosts, dancing poo, a fairy-tale that appears drug-fuelled, a parody of sex and desire with a woman in a costume of numerous huge breasts that dancers crawl after and suck on, modern Geisha in grand punk/Geisha costume, orgasms and balloons. It’s all here, in your face and as gripping as it is deliberately excessive and carefully crafted.

DasShoku SHAKE! immerses us in an extreme state in which people have experienced the unimaginable. The butoh-trained performers are compelling. When they shake from their core they seem almost inhuman.

There are moments of quiet within this maelstrom that touch on the simplicity of life. The electronic blips, drum beats and static stop. Umiumare alone on stage, spotlit, asks the audience if we’re following so far. She searches for clarity in the program, asks us how we’re going and then advises us to “breathe deep and return to who you are.”

In among the wild excess of the cabaret-punk costumes and a driving soundtrack that goes from cheesy tunes to grand classical to unsettling electronica, there are bone-chilling moments as unseen performers move inside huge silver tubes to embody nuclear seepage from a wrecked reactor.

DasSHOKU SHAKE! DasSHOKU SHAKE!
photo Vikk Shayen
In a show awash with invention the makers of DasShoku SHAKE! satisfyingly use the common device of repeating an opening image to bring the work full circle. In the first scene the ‘ordinary girl’ (Umiumare) holds a round mirror that obscures her face as she journeys through the madness around her looking for the Light. At the end of the performance she returns changed by the journey, wigless, head shaven and emotionally naked with the mirror held up but now cracked.

After all the mayhem and delight the piece has arrived at a brilliantly performed butoh solo—Umiumare crying as she retreats, drawn backwards towards the light, which ultimately consumes her. It is emotionally gutting, but full of hope.

Yumi Umiumare says this piece is “a modern ritual for both calming and provoking the souls and paying homage to the departed…” She adds that “the Japanese indigenous Ainu people consider ‘shaking the spirit’ as simply ‘thinking’…” (program note).

I felt greedy for it and shaken out of the ordinariness of everyday life.


2013 Darwin Festival, Yumi Umiumare with Theatre Gumbo and DasShoku Triangle. DasSHOKU SHAKE!, concept Yumi Umiumare and Theatre Gumbo, direction Yumi Umiumare, Kayo Tamure in collaboration with the artists, set design Ellen Strasser, sound design Dan West, lighting design Tony Moore; George Brown Botanic Gardens, Darwin, Aug 20-22

The NT Writers’ Centre’s RealTime Workshop project is supported by the Australian Government Regional Arts Fund and the Northern Territory Government.

For reviews of the 2013 Darwin Festival by Mike Bodnar, Kaye Hall, Fiona Carter, Kyle Walmsley and Nicola Fearn go to www.realtimearts.net/features.

Nicola Fearn is a theatre maker, director, performer and teacher (Australia & UK). She is Artistic Director of Business Unusual, a Darwin-based company specialising in visual, physical theatre and is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts postgraduate theatre course.

RealTime issue #117 Oct-Nov 2013 pg. web

© Nicola Fearn; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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