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Klare Lanson & Kathrin Ward,  #wanderingcloud - Campbells Creek Klare Lanson & Kathrin Ward, #wanderingcloud - Campbells Creek
photo Kathryn Baulch
You walk into the Theatre Royal, Castlemaine’s versatile theatre-gig-cinema-performance-space, into a partitioned-off candle-lit bar where projections of pastures, eucalypts and dissolving clouds loop onto large hanging canvas, mingling with the sound of feedback and frogs. You sense the performers on the other side of the curtain, silhouetted as the music begins.

It’s a performance in layered sections, of trickle-down effects: Klare Lanson, remembering the flooding of her house at the bottom of a huge hill, stands on tables as the water swirls around. She speaks to locals about the rush, swimming from one storey to another, as they share their “recipe for the natural disaster”—the dangerous clouds, the tale of a pig who doesn’t get along with sheep (but is forced to shelter with them), the raining down of “millions of trembling spiders”—and their voices stream from the laptop Lanson guards and commands like a digital composer, wearing a clear raincoat and a t-shirt saying “heaven sent,” or “the flood line here” marked near the bottom of her skirt. She scatters her churning text and sound to the winds while she geo-tags the collective memories of communities in trauma.

Musician and writer Neil Boyack takes off, guitar-strapped and thumping in a Western shirt, while the Octaphonic Frogs are decked out in military gear and hats. Soprano Andree Cozens barks and croons, drawing calm in a muddy landscape visually mixed by Jacques Soddell. Kathrin Ward, heavily pregnant with twins, is draped in a bubble-wrap wedding gown and as she walks she clicks the seductive plastic, unravelling herself, inviting you to join in, until the wall of crackle sounds like a bonfire, warming your wet skin.

On the floor, like detritus left on the riverbank, instruments are scattered about, tripped over. The Clocked Out duo take the audience on a percussive ride, improvising with objects they’ve found strewn around local properties: a falling-apart piano (played with elbows by Erik Griswold); a long chain that rattles like thunder; cables mashed and whispering along the wooden floor like river gum roots. Along the way Lanson laughs, dances with you in the summer rain, soundscaping and reverbing— “my fingers are triggered by the hidden voice in your stories”—her voice wavering from lullaby to panic, and others join hers as tributaries then channels then canals, as the real storm hits.

Newstead. Campbell’s Creek. Guildford. Carisbrook. A swinging bag is pushed like a pendulum. In the soft spotlight, Vanessa Tomlinson turns it, emptying grain in a rush onto the floor, the various timbres and tones playing out like rain on a tin roof, stopping and starting, subtle and delicate, the transfixing sound of childhood, all too rare in a Castlemaine drought.

But that’s what the weather’s like here. It swings from one extreme to another. Flood to drought. And back. Drought to flood. And back. Then every summer your phone beeps with fires nearby. The threat of flames. The one track out. The smell of smoke that sends your senses racing. But the phone beeps so often. That soon you no longer hear it.

#wanderingcloud, Klare Lanson, a collaborative performance featuring Klare Lanson, Clocked Out Duo, Andree Cozens, Jacques Soddell, Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, 5 Sept

RealTime issue #118 Dec-Jan 2013 pg. 41

© Kirsten Krauth; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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