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The SUBSTATION and Melbourne Festival present the Australian premiere of More Up A Tree

BY PBP | 04-Oct-2017
Dirty Three drummer Jim White (AUS/USA), Claudia De Serpa Soares (PRT) and Eve Sussman (USA)
The SUBSTATION and Melbourne Festival present the Australian premiere of More Up A Tree, featuring Dirty Three drummer Jim White and Portuguese dancer Claudia De Serpa Soares (Sasha Waltz & Guests), housed within a giant mirrored glass box designed by American multi media artist Eve Sussman.

Together they create a show that explores the relationship between artist and audience as drums and dance meet to present a spectacular story about art, the making of it and the often invisible collaborations and tensions between performers and audience.

The audience serves as the fourth participant in this inspired collaboration, which was originally commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). As the show begins, the performers are within Sussman’s 7 x 4m box of 2-way mirrored Plexiglas. The audience take on an ordained voyeurism as they gaze upon the performers who cannot see out. The dancer and the drummer are performing alone, in public.

This unusual sense of privacy changes the artist’s demeanour so the audience being visible to the artists or not, inspires what follows. As the light changes the drummer and the dancer are revealed, at other times the audience can only see themselves reflected in the mirrored glass.

Bearing witness to this stunning mix of sound and movement, the audience is encouraged to walk around the box, enabling them to get tantalizingly close to the music and movement, although still voyeurs beyond the walls.

By doing away with narrative and melody, and making a constantly “in flux” relationship to the public, attention is focused on the agency of the drumming, dancing and the audience. More Up A Tree reveals the meaningful nature of movement by removing tonality and concentrating action inside a box.

White and de Serpa Soares are commanding performers on any stage, yet with the addition of Sussman’s installation it is a heightened experience. Together they tell a beautiful story.