Taking inspiration from a selection of traditional Japanese folklore illustrations, this collaborative production by the Clockfire Theatre Company and the Art Gallery of NSW breathes life into this exhilarating re-imagining for a contemporary audience.
A part of SydFest 2020 and staged in the vast entrance court of the Art Gallery of NSW, Night Parade of One Hundred Goblins is a highly physical performance that works to vivify the legendary characters depicted in the artwork of the Art Gallery of NSW’s latest curation – Japan Supernatural. Following the ‘parade’ format, the performance is staged across an elongated space, with the audience seated on either side and the performers continually moving through the space. The performers personify a range of shapeshifting creatures, legendary monsters and supernatural beings known commonly as Yōkai.
Arisa Yura commands the space as the trickster fox (a shape-shifter that often disguises itself as a beautiful woman), scaring us into submission with her conviction and focus.
Madeline Baghurst, Emily Ayoub and Alicia Gonzalez had us in stitches in their ultra-physical depiction of cucumber-craving water goblins. The influence of Lecoq in the work is evident as these creatures appear to draw from the traditional French ‘Bouffon’ with their bulging eyes, penchant for games and overwhelming grotesquery. The segment was highly entertaining and a cross-cultural blend that worked brilliantly.
Masae Ikegawa was truly mesmerising as she created music and sounds across a variety of percussive instruments. She was most impressive in her vigorous and impassioned playing of the Taiko drums, and she was so deeply connected to the space you could not take your eyes off of her.
Ben Pierpoint’s sound design is simply exquisite, using a selection of earthy beats, drones and looping technology to heighten our senses and experience. Martin Kinnane’s lighting design works in successful tandem with the architecture of the space, and encourages us to look ‘outside the box’. The design (Tobhiyah Stone Feller) and make up (Natalia Ladyko) design leave a lasting impression, particularly the only set piece which is a collection of cardigans and the brashly painted bodies and faces which succeed in making the ordinary appear extraordinary.
This production reminds us of the wonder and excitement that can be achieved when we encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. An art exhibition brought to life through performative work can change and often enhance the way we experience art in the traditional sense. The collaboration is fuel for the imagination and with an eclectic mix of intrigue, wonder and eerie ethereality, Night Parade of One Hundred Goblins serves up an experience that invigorates our senses and draws us into its world.
Venue Art Gallery of NSW (Sydney), 16th to 25th Jan 2020
Co-Directors/Performers Emily Ayoub, Arisa Yura
Devisors/Performers Madeline Baghurst, Ryuichi Fujimura, Alicia Gonzalez
Exhibition Curator Melanie Eastburn
Cover Photo by Geoff Magee (Design – Brodie Kals)
DISCLAIMER: This and all other reviews posted by A Millennial with an Opinion/JTA Official/Jessie Trompp are the honest personal opinions of a theatre-goer and are not reflective in any way of the opinions of others who have seen the production.