Music / “Byrd Round Table”, The Song Company. At Wesley Uniting Church, March 16. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD
FIVE years in the making, dancer Liz Lea this month unveils a world premiere with her newest, solo show, “RED”.
Lea, the current “City News” Artist of the Year, is obviously planning something outrageous, describing her one-woman “dance extravaganza” as fearless, fierce and powerful.
She warns that it contains matters “of an adult nature, references to surgery, illness, and high heels”.
A mixture of dance, simultaneous cinematography and spoken word, Lea says it’s “elusive, fractious and fabulous… bringing on the bawdy and banishing the banal.”
She has said little about the fact “RED” was motivated by “that insidious disease, endometriosis”, something she has endured for the 20 or so years of her professional dance career.
While the core of the show is a look at Lea’s own experiences, she prefers to see “RED” as “a rom-com that deals with health and well-being”.
She says the show exposes not just the disease, which affects so many women around the world, but how she handled it by ignoring it – not a good idea. But errors in judgement often lead to comedy, so when asked if there will be laughter in “RED” she replies: “I hope so”.
In creating a work about her life, Lea has collaborated with dramaturg Brian Lucas, choreographers Vicki van Hout, Virginia Ferris and Martin del Amo, cinematographer Nino Tamburri, film editor Arianna Bosi, composer Alexander Hunter and lighting designer Karen Norris.
Spectacular red costumes will feature in some of the key sections of the work, but there are other costumes as well and a couple of surprise guests that she’s not prepared to identify.
Lea admits it’s quite a big show for a tiny venue like the QL2 Dance studios, but says: “For me, the QL2 performance space is the place where over 18 to 20 years, a lot of my journey has taken place”.
That journey has involved illness, but she hopes to explore that under question of self-care “in a comedic voice”.
And the title?
“Red indicates the blood that runs through the body – no matter what race, religious creed or gender you are, it’s the same,” she says.
As well, with the help of Gorman Arts Centre, where the performance space is located, she has also mounted a costume exhibition of 20 costumes from 20 years of Liz Lea Dance called “20:20 a Retrospective”.
“RED”, QL2 Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, March 8-11. Bookings to red2018.eventbrite.com