Monday, June 24, 2024


Force Majeure
Director: Danielle Micich
August 23 – 26, 2023

Led by Artistic Director, Danielle Micich, Force Majeure’s idk explores contemporary uncertainty – I don’t know – about personal and interpersonal boundaries through a melding of movement, narrative and voice. Playful, sexy and provocative, the performance ventures into darkness but is illuminated by tenderness.

The presence of a human size teddy bear is ingenious. While beautifully manipulated by Adriane Daff, it adds a leavening comedic element with an aptly plodding movement and lolling limbs, its often not-so-benign recording gaze is unsettling and even frightening at times. Whether Pooh, Paddington, Blinky Bill or some other generic fluffy creation, bears early imposed on children as love-objects – a strange choice as bears are unsociable animals – teach a lesson about loving something endowed with imaginary receptive responses. When given the limelight, Ted sings his own obituary as the traditional values the bear represents are – hopefully – buried.

A young couple (Merlynn Tong, Gabriel Comerford), their life unrolling before them, tentatively begin a new relationship. Gently exploratory, they brush a pale blue carpet with their fingers, push against and with the nap, and make patterns of their own. At first, they keep a distance, made uncertain by physical closeness but gradually they learn each other’s permissions and permissiveness. In apposition to this tender narrative, separate vignettes dramatise the hazards of sexual experience, the self-questioning following a drunken sexual encounter and the shame of a toxic relationship.

The performance work less well when it is closest to the bone, for instance, an incident describing sexual harassment, and best when it has an imaginatively presented staging (Anna Treloan and Damien Cooper). A witty and ethically tricky dialogue about “Having your cake and eating it too” is made indelibly memorable having the two young women (Daff, Tong) speaking from different locations on the stage and projecting it on a suspended screen. Again, Tong’s monologue on the attractions and dangers of immersion in the (metaphoric) ocean – and the clever use of the blue carpet – is deeply and memorably moving.

idk’s intention is to provoke rather than instruct. The use of the suspended screen to reflect the speakers or subjects and the reflective floor strip at centre stage are absorbing ways of highlighting the need for reflection and self-reflection as the watcher or onlooker accompanying many of the interactions prompts the question, “Why not intervene?”

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