New work comes together skillfully
By Myron My
Created by Darren Vizer, Blending is an intricate exploration of relationships, sex, bullying and love. Using one dancer (Joel Fenton) and one actor (Jean Goodwin), Vizer combines the two art forms to create an evocative piece of work where each of the three scenarios explored begin similarly but end in very different places.
The deliveries of dialogue from Goodwin in the first and third scenario are particularly powerful and not only demand our attention but leave us feeling very strong but contrary emotions. However, in the second scenario the writing needed refinement as it verged on repetition and began losing its impact on the audience.
The play with silence during Blending was welcoming and fresh, as there can often a fear of this from both performers and audience members. The opening moments show Goodwin reading a book and Fenton watching her from afar, giving us the opportunity to come up with our own idea of what is happening and what is going to happen and thus invest more in the people we are seeing.
I thoroughly enjoy watching theatre and dance come together as they are able to create a stronger emotive experience for the audience that could otherwise not be achieved. By overtly putting himself out of his dancer’s comfort zone, Fenton’s vulnerability and feelings comes to the surface through his acting in a more effective and honest way. As Blending develops, it will be great to see Goodwin also being pushed more profoundly out of her role as actor and into the realm of dance to be able to express the same breadth of emotions, particularly in the third scenario.
With Blending, Vizer explores three very different relationships that while making significant impact do not leave you overwhelmed with a confused myriad of emotion. It is a complex experience that could be quite jarring for the audience were it not for its skillful creator and performers.
Blending was performed at La Mama as part of its 2014 Explorations season, which supports new works in various stages of development.