Review by Kate Gaul
Director Chenoeh Miller writes that Little Dove’s butoh-influenced performative installation “is an investigation into the possibility that it’s not necessarily a kind of love we crave but more the physiological need for human touch to survive.” Hailing from ACT it is an absolute privilege to see this work in Sydney. Great work can transform even the humblest of venues and the notoriously difficult Sound Lounge becomes the site for a small but beautifully formed work.
Six female identifying humans make their way from the dressing room to the stage slowly, in unison, heads bowed. They are dressed identically in pink tutus and singlets, hair messed up and white smudged faces. Feet bare. Before they reach the stage, Chenoah Miller places a sign in front of the stage. It reads “Please Do touch”. A provocation, a plea, or a warning?
The work has its origins in art-gallery performance. It is both vulnerable and fierce. The piece is a meld of Japanese Butoh, physical theatre and a looser performance art. It has, rightly, received accolades wherever it has performed. The women, in crisis, face us. Time passes. The women silently become husk-like, primal. The event reminds us of humanities destruction in a world without touch, connection, and engagement.
Finally, the more woke audience members comply with the signage. The women on stage are transformed by the touch – posture and gesture change, bodies soften, faces beam.
At just over 30 minutes this is the perfect length. At the fringe all art is equal. But Six Women Standing in Front of a White Wall reminds us that some art is more equal than others. It takes huge commitment to bring a company of 7+ artists to an uncertain fringe. Thanks to Little Dove Theatre for making the journey. Recommended.