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Young Creatives Blog

Rhiannon Petersen: Plant Lilies in Autumn, for them to bloom in Summer

Monday 29 February 2016

  • Review

I was trying to tell some friends about the extravaganza that is Refuse the Hour, and was honestly doing a bit of a bumbling job. About mid-way through my explanation, I blurted out – ‘and there’s a mechanical drum kit that hangs upside down from the roof!’ They wondered why I didn’t lead with this. Refuse the Hour is an exploration and examination of our relationship to time through theatrical elements, myth and culture, and a rejection of the notion that our stories must live in the linear. Refuse the Hour is a work which attempts to explore the intricacies of the universe – which I admire, even if I don’t fully understand the piece. Every aspect of this production experiments with time – pace, repetition, linearity and so forth – through sound, movement, visuals, and text. These categories are broad because the performance utilises so much within each category – for example sound included music through a band, singers who sang opera and uttered disjointed vocalisations, and the suspended drum kit, creating something that was both harmonious and discordant. I’m reminded of the Tralfamadorians from Slaughterhouse-Five, for whom all time exists simultaneously, so that everything that has happened or will happen is known. I wonder what they would have thought of this production. As one of the artists from Refuse the Hour stated at the Sunday Series, on 14 February, the role of art is to ask questions – we don't have all the answers. This resonates with Refuse the Hour – it’s not providing answers, it’s examining how everything is interwoven with time. The show ended with a projection flashing ‘fin’. I almost expected for it then to flash begin. But I guess we need some kind of closure in our lives.

Later on, I had the opportunity to see The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet, which is all about the emotion of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The show takes the key sections of Hamlet, and uses the songs of the Tiger Lillies to transition, interweave and interact, with and between the segments. The songs aid in creating this dark atmosphere, along with assisting the audiences’ understanding of the essence of this fragmented interpretation. The production uses stunning imagery, including lopsided furniture and suspended silhouettes to capture the madness of truth within Hamlet’s world. In the post-show talk, an actress described Hamlet’s insanity as the madness you feel when society sees lies, but you see truth. I’m not sure I believe in anyone’s ability to see absolute truth, yet this context rings true within our society – how often are geniuses declared insane, or ostracised for seeing beyond the limitations of their time?