Cinnabar Field

Philipa Rothfield: Trevor Patrick, Cinnibar Field

To review Helen Herbertson and Trevor Patrick side by side seems right. Both dance alone in works that are also collaborative, both operate with a clarity and finesse that suggests a coming of age. Like Morphia, Cinnabar Field is also concerned with memory but disrupted by an urgency and passion of autobiographical dimensions. In the first half Trevor Patrick dances in a succession of delineated, lit squares, moving along the Great Wall of North Melbourne constructed in wood by Ben Cobham. Patrick moves through these beautiful articulations accompanied by spoken lists of the everyday relating to his youth (including meals eaten). The evocation of a rural childhood is palpable, the dancing fluid, precise and polished. Toward the end of this passage, questions of identity arise. Sex, the desire to be otherwise, is spoken, forming a pivot, a hinge between a life coloured by memory and one which is less amenable to order.

While thus far the dancer has rendered himself visible through dance and words, dressed in white shirt and black pants, now a figure in a black dress and wig appears, emerging through a gap in the wall. This is no less Trevor Patrick than the boy who ate lamb chops and potatoes. Hartley Newnham stands nearby, singing to a series of Patrick’s entrances and exits, sandwiched between images of and moments in movement.

The face is a crucial aspect of subjectivity. It is hard to see Patrick’s face in his dress and wig. Without a face, things become less clear, less secure. The black high heels typify the precarious nature of this dance. Performed without losing balance, another kind of vertigo is played out. Rather than evoking memory, this is a rendition of the present. I left Cinnabar Field with questions about the meaning of the last half, wanting to fill in the gap, while knowing that without it, there would have been no room for such a dance to emerge.

Cinnabar Field, choreographer, performer Trevor Patrick, musician Hartley Newnham, design Ben Cobham, sound Livia Ruzic, composition Luke Tierney, lighting Jen Hector; North Melbourne Town Hall, Oct 24-27.

RealTime issue #52 Dec-Jan 2002 pg. 6

© Philipa Rothfield; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 December 2002
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