Hiding in Plain Sight

Lynne Lancaster

Hiding in Plain Sight is a most intriguing, fascinating and absorbing work.
Hiding in Plain Sight

Image by James Brown. 

Dark, mysterious and compelling Hiding In Plain Sight is the latest work choreographed by critically acclaimed Narelle Benjamin (In Glass) . It is part of the Score season of light and movement currently showing at Carriageworks. 

It is full of curved lines, both of the choreography and the performer’s bodies; and of the fans used. Demonstrating Benjamin’s Asian influences, it is also quite futuristic at times with Karen Norris and Samuel James’s dramatic, challenging lighting and projections, including projections drawing a white line on the floor, intersecting lines revolving at another point of the show, the two separate yet sort of united patterns swirling on the floor that meet, shift and change.

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Huey Benjamin’s eclectic electronic score is mesmerizing as it hums, beeps, pulsates, whistles and throbs .There is a door frame and two mirror/window frames that the performers tilt, sit on, look through and hang off. The performers are dressed in casually elegant sleeveless garments to allow for ease of movement, giving a sort of pantsuit-like effect and with fabulously detailed beautiful lace collar neckpieces.

Hiding in Plain Sight is made up of two solos performed in the same space with separate but overlapping timelines. Each of the two wonderful performers (Kristina Chan and Sara Black ) present in the other’s solo until they intertwine centre stage. Inspired by the evocative photographs of American Francesca Woodman, that explore the body in motion and space, as well as the philosophical writings of the Romanian Mircea Eliade, Hiding in Plain Sight ‘echoes with ideas of loss, identity, mortality and displacement. It inhabits a sort of trancelike dreamscape.’  

Benjamin’s choreography is amazing. It is fluid and graceful and includes lots of twisting, rolling floorwork and angular ‘broken wing’ arms at times. There are references to the Fokine/ Pavlova ‘Dying Swan’ solo,  martial arts like slo-mo and the Bangarra style. As brilliantly performed by Chan and Black the opening ‘mirroring’ duet is extremely intimate and sculpturally entwined. Three different sizes and colours of fans are used, and, at one point the fan becomes in effect a half tutu.

Powerful and haunting. This is a most intriguing, fascinating and absorbing work.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Hiding in Plain Sight

Choreographer: Narelle Benjamin
Video projection: Samuel James  
Music Composition: Huey Benjamin
Lighting Design: Karen Norris
Costume design: Justine Shih Pearson
Fan design: Victoria Brown
Performers: Kristina Chan and Sara Black

Carriageworks, Wilson St, Everleigh
www.carriageworks.com.au
 22-30 August

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.