Untamed audience

Wesley Enoch: Periodo Villa Villa, De La Guarda

De La Guarda’s Perioda Villa Villa

De La Guarda’s Perioda Villa Villa

The audience is crammed into a small space whilst the humming through the speakers grows to a drone and then a tune. We are illuminated by the reassuring exit signs; above us a paper ceiling defines the space as cramped, low, capped. Upward gaze; these words look very optimistic here. The vertical is the space for performance. The performance begins with the angelic/devilish sight of backlit sprites casting shadows on the ceiling. Balloons, toys, fluorescent splatter spots fill the paper with joyful play. They are above us, beyond the ceiling, in another world, but we have access to this world. The ceiling is removed. Removed is too passive a word; ripped, dragged, sliced by human missiles, making the world above our heads available to us. Tickertape pours down from the heavens.

After the storm cloud of paper has passed, the performers are precision drivers doing daring manoeuvres except with no cars, no roads and no helmets. WARNING: Do not attempt this at home. Six hundred people, all of us thinking we are as close as we can get, find the space quickly when water gushes from the ceiling. A childlike sense of watching a thunderstorm roll in over the ocean and breaking on the Land; the fear of destructive power, counter-balanced by excitement and relief. The dance and music engulf me. The performers now unleashed from their harnesses hold the audience, hugging, kissing, encouraging us to dance. The energy I want to unleash is being played out in the space above my head. Women running up the wall, this is my Batman fantasy. Drenched and dripping, they pound the rhythms. This is nightclub, rave, concert, theatre, spectacle. I have no head space for theory here. This performance would not be possible where I come from. In Queensland, at our request to burn a few leaves for The 7 Stages of Grieving, the authorities went ape-shit, at one moment threatening to close the show. The laws (internal and external) that govern us would require so much compromise, but here I revel in this moment. There is no danger here, no personal danger that threatens my body. The danger lies in what I will expect from the theatre of tamed lounge chairs and fake velvet curtains. Euphoria.

Periodo Villa Villa, De La Guarda,Three Mills Island Studios, June 18

RealTime issue #20 Aug-Sept 1997 pg. 46

© Wesley Enoch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 August 1997