Fanning creative flames
By Myron My
A single match is struck and a candle lit. Then another and another and another. The darkness that was on stage is soon illuminated by five dancers in Stephanie Lake’s A Small Prometheus.
Performed as part of this year’s Melbourne Festival, the show uses the story of Prometheus from Greek mythology, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to as a gift to the newly-created humanity, to spark off this performance about unpredictability, uncertainty and the fragility of life.
Lake has brought together five extremely talented and strong performers in Rennie McDougall, Lauren Langlois, Alana Everett, Lily Paskas and Lee Serle. I continue to be impressed with the skill and finesse that Paskas (Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box and P.O.V) and Serle (P.O.V) display and the limits to which they constantly push themselves. With such a physically and mentally demanding performance, I was surprised to discover that this is Everett’s professional debut as she is very confident and able on stage.
The show moves between solo and ensemble pieces that are rigidly choreographed, to moments that have varying levels of improvisation which not only heighten the feeling of instability that Lake is creating but also the notion of something more dark and primal at play. Indeed, there are moments where the dancers’ only light is provided by matches and candles, casting many shadows and illuminations.
The fusion of dance, sound and light remains strong and constant throughout A Small Prometheus, but I was just as intrigued by Robin Fox’s fire-driven kinetic sculpture which created some powerful moments during the production, and in its own right seemed to lead and guide the performance a certain way.
I was very much drawn into the world created by A Small Prometheus and surprised when it reached its conclusion as it had felt like mere minutes had passed since I began watching. Having seen Lake also perform in A Conversation Piece for Dance Massive earlier this year, it is clear she has a profound interest in exploring dance, music and the self through various means. A Small Prometheus is a clear and fine example of such a show – and should not be missed.
Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Season: Until 20 October | Friday 7:30pm, Sat 2pm and 7:30pm and Sun 5:00pm.
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Conc | $20 Student