A cross-cultural human experience
By Caitlin McGrane
Depth of Field is an immersive and fascinating theatrical experience. Played out on the Malthouse forecourt, the outdoor performance explores what it means to exist and thrive in Melbourne’s city. The evocative performance reminds the audience of how much the metropolis has changed, and how the unspoken interactions between strangers are a shared cross-cultural human experience.
The performers, James Vu Anh Pham, Tara Jade Samaya and Niharika Senapati are all exceptional; their synchronicity was perfect. I loved how they seemed to fly through the space, only to come crashing down to earth in a cloud of dust. The forecourt space, often forgotten and dismissed, is perfect for the production; as the dance builds to a crescendo the dust fills the air, which combined with the breeze means the audience is treated to a deeply textural sensory experience.
While the three performers occupy the vast and featureless performance space, the surrounds are populated by extras, performers the audience might only notice once they walk past a handful of times. Their participation only increases the audience’s immersion; even when a (presumably) unpredicted visitor walks through the performance, it caused ripples of laughter through the audience as though they were in on the joke.
Director and choreographer Anouk van Dijk has outdone herself with this production, and I cannot recommend it emphatically enough. The music from Ben Frost, Daníel Bjarnason and The Bug is reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar soundtrack – the sweeping, crashing score is acutely emotive and perfectly compliments the lighting design by Michael Carr and Blair Hart.
This finely tuned performance made for a wonderful evening’s entertainment and my only regret is not bringing a jumper. As the sun set behind the cityscape, I found myself staring across the skyscrapers, reminded of the traditional owners of this intriguing land.
Date: Until Saturday 14 March
Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank