Saturday, July 30, 2022
HomeCultureSydney Festival - Cut the Sky

Sydney Festival – Cut the Sky

Directed artfully by Rachel Swain, the Marrugeku company explores the issues of climate change through an Indigenous lens, layering song, poetry, audio visuals, as well as modern and Indigenous dance to a riotous effect.

Choreographers, Dalisa Pigram and Serge Aimé Coulibaly, serenely blend modern lyrical dance with traditional Aboriginal forms. This was an effortlessly cross-art form performance with poet Edwin Lee Mulligan reciting his poems, singer Ngaire Pigram singing Nick Cave, Buffalo Springfield and Edwin Lee Mulligan (in language), as well as visuals of the Kimberley desert undercut with sobering film of post-cyclone destruction.

The end result is a fractured though flowing cross-medium spectacle; a harrowing yet ultimately hopeful look at the degradation of the environment from a uniquely Aboriginal perspective.

Marrugeku is an inter-cultural and multi-disciplinary company that works with the Indigenous community of Broome consulting with elders and local leaders to present an Indigenous perspective.

Edwin lee Mulligan, a visual artist and poet, brought the Indigenous connection to land alive with his poetry. His sparse yet poignant verse tells of how the natural gas, coveted by mining companies is embodied in his country as a woman who when disturbed from her resting place in the ground becomes a menacing force. With dancers lyrically evoking his words they created delicate marriage of poetry and dance.

Soul singer Ngaire Pigram sang Indigenous and non-Indigenous songs, dressed in a lavishly derelict corset of blue recycled plastic bags. Unfortunately the songs were not fully coherent with the rest of the performance and confused the flow.

The choreography was visceral and almost desperate, the dancers emoting as much with their bodies as their faces. A stand-out dance was the injured kangaroo, evoked by Josh Mu, who struggles against a sand storm. He performed gripping mime movements with an admirable thrust and precision. This was supported by inspired stage design with billowing smoke illuminated by a golden light, and captivating music of Eric Avery playing the violin accompanied with discordant distorted feedback noises blaring.

The finale was exceptional with the dancers being saturated by the highly anticipated rain that finally “cut the sky” brought on by their “singing the rain”.

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