Callan Park, Rozelle, Sydney
February 6, 2014
By Kristy Johnson of Dance Informa.
Friday 6th February saw the first of three performances, for the newest work by De Quincey Co. In partnership with Laneway Festival and Sydney College of the Arts, this performance set in Callan Park, Rozelle, Sydney, was a site-specific work that allowed audience members to explore the site, roam, and become immersed in the entire experience.
As you could imagine, there would be many challenges when creating a site-specific work, especially when unforeseen weather conditions can occur. However, all went off without a hitch. Audience members wandered through the space, set inside Australia’s first purpose-built psychiatric institution. Installations were vivid and eye catching with the use of smoke and effective lighting, and costumes were unique in their aesthetic.
The choice of venue being a psychiatric institution suited the brief pitched to the performers. Director Tess de Quincey asked the performers to approach a series of obsessions. Tess wanted the performers to be possessed by obsession, inhabiting and becoming the body of their obsession to bring it alive in all its intricacies. The site being an institution set inside a garden saw the opportunity for Tess to ponder the thought – how do we tend the garden of our mind?
A negative for the performance would be the lack of dancing. I have to admit I was expecting to see more of a dance performance, as opposed to interactive art. It was definitely a unique experience, however if you were after an energetic dance performance, then this wouldn’t be your cup of tea.
All in all, Tess should be commended on her efforts to produce site-specific works that really stand outside of the box, and get audience members to ponder certain questions.
Photo (top): Inner Garden performer Linda Luke. Photo courtesy of De Quincey Co.