Review by Kate Gaul
“Stuck In Free Fall” is a dance show about Nothing. It is created and presented by Nicola Bullock. She began by writing a book and it became a dance. Through words, movement, and projection she guides us through an enigmatic reading of her work as ritual. The text is poetic, sometimes as letters or lyrics between two beings unknown to each other. Ms Bullock speaks directly to us and sometimes invites the audience to join her by reciting the projected text or in one case providing the percussive underscoring to a section of the show.
The costuming was a striking reflection of some of the graphics that appear on the screen in black and white. The text is also presented in monochrome. It means we can project our own colours that emerge in our imaginations from the language and movement. The lighting and all tech is fairly basic and that befits the more conceptual side of the work.
The movement is graceful and uncomplicated. “Stuck in Free Fall” is obviously a very personal work, but it is hard to engage with what is at the nub of the expression. Intellectually we can understand an existence of the unknown, invisible, and impossible and our desire to connect with these abstract forces. It is entirely another to access it through a work like this.
The stated intention of “Stuck in Free Fall” is to “summon Nothing and share its oblique wisdom with others as the void of nothingness becomes a space to contain things which are impossible to understand. In doing so, the weight and lightness of the world can be held with the most profound reverence and the most joyous irreverence, simultaneously.”
But there are other things to gain from joining a company of strangers in a pulled-together venue in a University building as part of an international festival. We enter the space knowing very little or nothing about the work of the artist. In this case that is the ideal state in which to encounter Nothing and we free fall with the artist through their creative imagination and with luck reach a point of wonder. For all that I didn’t understand the works’ honesty and artists presence were enough.