Melbourne Fringe 2016: 2.0 / CONTACT

A touch – of artistry

By Myron My

Presented as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Human Project’s 2.0 | Contact, is an exploration on what touch can be and mean to humans, and how life could be without it. A highly physical experimental piece, it incorporates martial arts, dancing and some wrestling moments as an “outsider” dissects and analyses the state of physical touching.

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With injury befalling one of the performers, the show has had to be restructured to work around the three remaining cast (Rosie Osmond, Ashton Sly and Joseph Lai), but had you not known,  you wouldn’t be able to tell, as the performance is seamless and feels like it has been just the three of them rehearsing all this time. This is a highly demanding show – both physically and mentally – but the training and effort the three have put in in getting this piece together is profoundly evident. With its minimalist set, staging, and costumes there is nothing for the performers to hide behind, and their every move or word is what has all of our attention.

Throughout the show, there are “outsider” descriptions of various forms of human contact that the incomers have witnessed, which are then being played out for us on the stage. While these appear exaggerated and feel unnatural to watch, we are later informed that what we have witnessed is a common act such as kissing or shaking hands, adroitly illustrating the idea that a simple act of contact can generate multiple interpretations.

An interesting theme that runs throughout 2.0 | Contact regarding touch and physicality is that love and violence – affection and aggression – are closely related, and can transform from one into the other quite suddenly. There are powerful scenes of gentle caresses or kissing that are contrasted with the aggressive punching choreography, or bodies running into each other and being flipped onto gym mats.

2.0 | Contact is a strong production by The Human Project, a young promising company only formed in 2015. This is very much a reflective and evocative piece that has you questioning how we use touch in our own lives and how these meanings can differ from each person – and being – we come into contact with.

Venue: Sokol Melbourne, 497 Queensberry St, North Melbourne 

Season: Until 30 September | 8.30pm 

Length: 60 minutes 

Tickets: $25 Full | $16 Conc 

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

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