By Gregory Ryan on 03 Feb 2018
“Follow the lights” were our instructions from the usher.
After ordering a drink from the busy plaza within the State Theatre Centre, the hidden stage door opened where we stepped down an industrial passage to the underground rehearsal rooms.
The stage pace formed a rectangle with petite lights and was vacant other than a stream of paper boats, a metallic bucket, and the bodies of Sharon and Omer Backley-Astrachan.
The Backley-Astrachan pair is a power duo from Sydney, Australia, but they have spent the majority of their career in Israel.
The couple has worked with an array of artists, including the renowned Marina Abramovic, and it is clear in their work that they are highly skilled and well experienced.
Their choreography was subtle and, at times, almost transparent to the naked eye. However, when they ruptured into rapid sequences of choreography, they were both robust and devoted to every macro-movement.
The physicality, as a whole, demonstrated the chain reactions that can take place in our everyday lives: some that are positive, as a mutual relationship, and others that aren’t, like a string of panics.
Tohu, etymologically, derives from Tanakh and is used to describe the earth previous to God providing light (Gen. 1:3).
This origin speaks volumes to the production because the Backley-Astrachan duo physically explored complex relationships through a series of tightly devised, sequential fragments of choreography.
Fittingly, the space also did lack light, other than the one strip of LED bulbs that lined the perimeter of the stage.
Overall, the piece was an intriguing physical journey that was mesmerising to watch, especially while the stage was flooded with marbles.
Personally, I took away private meanings from the performance in addition to greater scale issues, such as Australia’s multifaceted issue of migration.
It was an exploration with skill and commitment that, at just thirty minutes, had dazed and amazed the audience.
10 Feb 2018