The latest production by Emergency Chorus takes place in apocalyptic Oregon, set sometime in a future of razed forests under which lies the world’s largest fungus.
Performing devisers Ben Kulvichit and Clara Potter-Sweet enter, singing what sounds like a patriotic Christian song. They stare into the distance, introducing the audience to their show. Landscape (1989) is comprised of arbitrary moments that are neither engaging nor offer stimulating information. Situated in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the state of Oregon surely should have provided some inspiration for the team to include visual slides or footage, instead we are left with contemporary dance movements and lots of walking in unison that act as filler. The duo walk, leap, stretch and bend their bodies across the floor, while a repetitive instrumental track plays. Without any clear narrative, the viewer might surmise their physical arrangements portray the steady shift of climate change.
The team must have an idea that their show doesn’t tell much, as one of the lines refers to having arrived at the middle of the play, feeling like it’s going nowhere, which is the underlying problem at the centre of Landscapes (1989). It lacks the basic storytelling usually found in theatre pieces, relying much too heavily on abstract movement, inducing several moments of boredom.
References to avant-garde music theorist John Cage and American political scientist Francis Fukuyama are not enough to salvage what is “a slow zoom in on an Oregon National Park”.
Photo: Emergency Chorus
Landscape (1989) is at Brick Hall from 13th until 17th February 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Landscape (1989) here: