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August 3, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Technology Cried!


Technology Cried! is a presentation of the practical work done by Tamsin Dashfield for her Theatre Honours research project into the workings and style of radical, experimental theatre group Red Mole. A powerful and defining voice of alternative theatre from their 70s heyday to their later, smaller-scale work in the 90s, Red Mole was all about ‘keeping the romance alive’. Which is always a good idea.

It seems odd to me that Dashfield and the theatre group she has formed, InfoCircus, has stuck so closely to Red Mole’s form to the point of including some actual Mole text in the piece. I can’t help but feel that when Mole talked about keeping the romance alive, they were talking about constantly moving forward, finding new ideas and new ways of expressing them. Could the best way to honour Red Mole be not to dwell on their style but to take it as a starting point and move in your own direction?

Those really are philosophic questions and don’t really answer the key question that review should pose. Was it any good?

And honestly, I don’t really know. It was by turns too raw and then not raw enough. My key memory of seeing Red Mole perform is the clear exertion of it. By ten minutes in their white makeup would be running down their faces with sweat, sticking to their bowler bats and aging them visibly. Technology Cried! never had this. Feeling too premeditated and cold. While surely a slight symptom of the subject matter under discussion—the distance technology puts between you and the world and between you and me—there was a lot more space for more life in the piece.

Some of the material felt under-developed, seeming to work better as ideas than actual stage works—one had the feeling of this group talking lots and sometimes actually doing little. There was also a slight issue with the familiarity of the subject matter—this is an issue that has been explored a lot recently on the Wellington stage. There was a sense of weariness and having been done about a lot of the ideas expressed. It did not help that there were several moments that seemed (totally unintentionally, I’m really sure) from Binge Culture’s Animal Hour.

That all being said, there is a lot of potential in this group. Some of the performers are very charismatic and Dashfield has a very apt eye for arranging stage pictures. One can hope they move away from their source and find a new theme because then that would be something to be properly excited about.

Technology Cried!
Directed by Tamsin Dashfield
Devised and performed by InfoCircus (Frances Hudson, Aimee-Lyn Marshall, Kirsty McGuire, Ginny Spackman, Tamsin Dashfield) with additional material by Alan Brunton, Brooke Smith-Harris and Matt Bialostocki
At 77 Fairlie Tce, 16 – 18 July 2009, 7.30pm


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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