By Lia Cocks
Blaas. Where does one begin? Quite simply, it is an experience like no other, one in which words cannot do it justice.
Schweigman& present their Australian exclusive performance of Blaas, and it will delight, confuse, charm and ignite intense thought long after you’ve left the space.
Blaas means ‘blow’, ‘breath’, ‘bubble’ and ‘bladder’ in Dutch and is a concept devised from the minds of award-winning director Boukje Schweigman, fashion designer turned visual artist Cocky Eek and performer Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti. A study of space and time, wind and air and movement; this is theatre never encountered before.
We are asked to leave our shoes and belongings at the door, and put scrub slippers over our feet. Already some theatre goers are uneasy. Upon walking into the stark, white room we sit on the white bench, and look out onto the large mass of white fabric at the back of the stage.
Static noise is played through the speaker; an edgy sound that can be interpreted as almost cicada sounding.
Slowly, we see the fabric rise and fall, like a heartbeat, a breath. Until it rises to its full glory - a large, white, blob-like shape. At first, it just seems like a shape that is mysteriously and supernaturally moving around the stage. Then it becomes animate; a flourishing, organic, moving bubble- blob. It grows a personality and we find ourselves wanting to touch it, play with it, understand it.
Our curiosity of how it moves gets the better of some, as they are enveloped into it and we gasp when the audience member is transported to the other end of the stage, seemingly like magic.
There are moments of fear as the bubble hurls itself towards us, not knowing if it will stop short of running through the audience. It does not. For the children watching, this brings giggles and tears, and one little boy was so endearing with his commentary throughout.
Just as we are getting know the bubble, another shape is forming at the rear of the space. This one is larger and seems more hostile. We start to feel frightened for our friend the bubble, until the large blob surrounds the bubble in what can be described as a hug. This tender moment is short lived, as our beloved bubble is swallowed by the blob.
What follows cannot be recounted as I feel it would ruin the experience for other theatre goers.
Blaas is a mesmerising, stimulating, scintillating and overwhelming piece of theatre.
All I can say is, succumb to the bubble, throw caution to the wind and immerse yourself in the unknown. Your senses will thank you for it.
Photo Credit: Geert Snoeijer
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.