By Lisa Lanzi
Directed and produced by Tina Ebenreuter with collaborators Emma Leggett and Luke Bartholomew, Flashed is described as ‘a non-linear, episodic work that explores the human experience of memory’.
The piece - self-described as a contemporary artwork - unfolds on the large, dark and mostly empty stage. Three white cubes remain in the space but come into play variously as screens for cinematic projection, level change elements and shelters, all manipulated and arranged by two dancers throughout the work. The two female performers were engaged and focussed throughout and moved with assurance and skill while negotiating all the choreographic, theatrical and vocal challenges.
One of the most successful elements of Flashed is the interaction between the human dancers and the projected figures, sometimes in sync, sometimes opposing, traveling with or escaping from each other. At times, the real dancer is simply the witness to the projected image as if contemplating a memory, perhaps a fleeting and tender moment from the past.
Memory is indeed an ephemeral and individual component of human experience, much as life itself is transient. Current research around memory suggests that different genders experience memory in different ways and that certain types of memory (traumatic memory for example) are laid down more fully than other types of memory. Additionally, our sensory experiences can trigger memories, smell being the most powerful of these for some. This sensory stimulation of memory was brought to mind when the performers began to interact with a collection of lemons. I was less sure of this section but saw elements of play, of retaliation, of collecting and of obsession around the use of the lemons; the bittersweet nature of some memories perhaps. At one moment a lemon is squashed, eaten and juice shared, the fragrance, texture and tartness of the fruit, while only imaginary for the audience, was certainly indelibly etched in our minds’ eye.
While I applaud the episodic approach used in this work and support wholeheartedly the confluence of human movement, film and cinematography, I suggest that Flashed deserves to be explored more fully. I would truly enjoy seeing the work again after more research and exploration has occurred around connecting the images and choreography to a deeper understanding of the actual experience of memory and ways to convey that to an audience. I also know that funding is short, rehearsal and performance venues are expensive and artists need to make a living! I feel that this work deserves a showing in a less traditional theatre setting - a more intimate and neutral space so the audience is not quite as distanced and where the power of the piece can work its magic as a work of art and not be only a proscenium arch ‘performance’.
That being said, this production is EXACTLY what we need more of and a perfect example of why we have a Fringe Festival. Please support these emerging artists and their explorations into original collaborations with mixed media and cross-artform events and bravo! Tina Ebenreuter.
Photos Supplied by Lisa Lanzi
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.