Theatre Royal, Hobart
Thursday 3 June 2010
By Anneliese Milk
‘It’s not about how old you are, but how you are old.’
At twenty-five I panic! I fret! I should have done this, been there, seen that and have one of those. Age is intrinsic to our perceptions of one another. We impose a different set of expectations on someone who is thirteen than on someone who is thirty. Age alters our bodies. It is physical. It is ephemeral. It is definitive. But as The Age I’m In illustrates: it is also meaningless.
Directed by Kate Champion The Age I’m In lends itself to a range of art forms creating a seamless and dynamic performance of dance, theatre, sound and film. Featuring a diverse cross-section of age, sex and build, the cast is transmuted into blank canvases continually adopting, swapping and sharing myriad personae with the use of voiceover, multi-media and movement. Small portable video screens feature headshots of others, endlessly permitting the cast to occupy another sex, another creed, another age. Here the screen is akin to pulling on a costume. As it is moved across the body, the screen transforms its surface the way pulling on a mask or a pair of rubber breasts might.
Performed by the dance theatre collective Force Majeure, The Age I’m In explores age as both the number of years we have lived and the passing eras in which we live. The cast skilfully lip-synch to voiceovers extracted from a series of interviews conducted beyond the stage with members of the public. The interviews are fragmented, reshuffled and seamlessly strung together creating an ongoing dialogue about everything and nothing at all. The interviewees’ find a synthesis in their use of the awkward, fumbling expression ‘um.’ Resonating throughout the performance, the word is exaggerated, repeated and manipulated to expose an individual’s thought process.
Creating an endless parade of disembodied voices, the use of voiceover asserts that age, for the individual, is a state of mind. Conversely the dance component of the performance reveals more about one’s age in proximity to another. Bodies are constantly interacting – pushing, pulling, twisting, manipulating, stretching one another, emphasising the fact that we judge and are judged by our age.
The Age I’m In is an amusing, probing experience making one wonder whether the assumptions and expectations we have of a person’s age in fact delimit our ability to see that person for who they really are.