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September 21, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Rule and Exception


It is not often that I would go to the theatre to see a dance show, and can openly admit that my experiences with interpretive dance were rather limited and prejudice. Yet Rule and Exception provided an exception to my idea of ‘physical’ theatre. It was insightful, polished and well communicated, even to a novice like me.

The show opened by highlighting the routine events that humans exist within in their everyday lives. Using an office setting as the bland terrain, the loss of individuality is shown through the way a person dons a mask to face the outside world with indifference. This defence mechanism puts up a barrier to others, and lets one fade into the crowd. One of the few props used is a metronome, which is set with a ticking noise so to show the passing of time in this dreary existence.

As recent graduates from Wellington’s dance school Te Whaea, the three performers certainly show that they are skilled dancers. The grace and composure in which they move gives the show direction and sets a standard from which meaning can be looked for within.

There is not so much of a narrative, rather it is more of a set of different ideas. Attention is drawn to the vulnerable underneath that each human being has, which gets lost among the monotonous grind that is the modern world.

The simplicity of the performance was enhanced by the costuming that was as minimal as the narrative. A tie represents the control of corporate life; a skirt tied like an apron suggests the control of the domestic sphere; and a pair of gloves symbolises the restricted creativity of the hands and the loss of freedom.

Of course, the performance was a very abstract piece and it invites the audience to make their own interpretations. The beauty of a show such as this is that it is open for the viewer to take whatever they want from it. In the sense, contrary to the pessimistic theme, the performance finally reasserts that there is a space for individuality in this world.

Rule and Exception
BATS Theatre Tuesday 8–Saturday 12 September
Directed by Adam Tatana
With Alysha Firbank, Zahra Killen-Chance and Cameron Lithgow


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