Spiralling force

Martin Walch sees Avanti, Hobart’s new intermedia performance group

Joanna Pollitt, Par Avion

Joanna Pollitt, Par Avion

Joanna Pollitt, Par Avion

Hobart’s new performance group Avanti describes its debut production Par Avion as “a multimedia navigation of three passengers suspended in flight.” It is an ambitious production which attempts to make “big screen video projection and live contemporary dance performance blend together…”

The work explores on screen and on stage the briefly parallel trajectories of 3 people seated together on a flight from Melbourne to Hobart; at the same time it endeavours to fuse video and dance into a unified form of communication and reflection. Franc Raschella has a good eye for composition and montage; at times the beautifully shot video imagery functions to background the subtext of dance and motion, whilst at others it leads the story very clearly. The choreography is driven by a turbulent and spiralling force which maintains the primary characters in a state of either colliding or slip-streaming, thereby demanding a precise and very physical performance which Joanna Pollitt, Michael O’Donoghue and Kylie Tonellato deliver with accomplishment.

In its best moments the production succeeds
in achieving a sensation of intimate intersection between the world represented by the video narrative, and the physical world of the live dancers and audience. Unfortunately there were also times when the video narrative was overly complex, and subsequently the visual disparity between the 2 channels of the performance meant it became difficult to follow. Blending video and dance is a difficult balancing act to maintain, and it is a credit to Avanti that it has the vision and courage to do so.

Avanti, Par Avion, devised, produced and directed by Joanna Pollitt and Franc Raschella; performed by Joanna Pollitt, Michael O’Donoghue and Kylie Tonellato, director of photography Franc Raschella, choreography Joanna Pollitt in collaboration with Michael O’Donoghue and Kylie Tonellato, music composed and performed by Imogen Lidgett, Peacock Theatre, Hobart, Nov 12 – 15

RealTime issue #28 Dec-Jan 1998 pg. 35

© Martin Walch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 December 1998