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Kate Champion never actually wanted to do a solo show. She wanted publicity shots not to show her face, but was told, “You’ve got such a pretty face.” She said, “But that’s what my piece is about. Whatever you do, it’s judged on face value.” In her new work, Face Value, facade is the theme. Champion is intrigued by our social skins and what’s really going on in the more tender organs. Sometimes the difference between the two feels too great. Using text or voice along with the body represents that clash between the façade and the inner voice that’s not social. Voice creates the body as a whole; it’s a different canvas, with more choices to be made. Champion is looking at the idea that many women live in the one person. Taking women of three different ages, 22 and 35 and 49, she has tried to work out what the energies are, their physicalities. “At 22, I was too full of energy. Looking back you realise you had it all, but no idea what to do with it. At 35 I feel more easy. Everything’s arriving at a point, but there’s something in me still fighting. What I’ve projected onto the older woman is that at 48 you don’t give a stuff, no desperate need to prove anything. Maybe that’s not menopausal but post-menopausal.”

The set made by Russell Way is a facade too, and a playground. “To an outsider, it looks straightforward, but we know its history. It’s got ‘scars’, and they make the skin more interesting. We’ve had those breakdowns and rebuilds, and arguments, and we’ve had to really test where each of us stands as far as where we’re going. This is why what I’m doing isn’t a solo show in any way.”

She says, “I go to the studio and I dance and dance and dance, finding all the processes I’ve been witness to, part of. You can see how your body’s owned by other people, you’re a little piece of history and you need to work out how to use that to your advantage. You can’t get rid of it because it lives in you. What makes some aesthetics stay in your body more strongly than others? You go to Paris with a lover and a few months later you say, just tell me five things that you remember about that week we spent in Paris, and his five things were not my five things. It’s the intensity of interest that causes you to retain it. The body has such an interesting editing facility.”

Kate Champion, Face Value, The Performance Space, Sydney, October 8-12

RealTime issue #15 Oct-Nov 1996 pg. 37

© Eleanor Brickhill; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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