Freeze Frame.Full Tilt Performance Troupe. Festival of Contemporary Arts at Gorman House Arts Centre, October 16, 1996. Professional
Intimations of William Dobell frozen in mime, eyes and mouth wide open for a very long time. The "painting" takes the new recruit art gallery explainer's spectacles. His vision is impaired as he leaps through the frame into a world where surrealism is deconstructed against the intermittent front-projected backdrop of Erika Harper's post-romantic tarot cards, interspersed by works from Rebecca Robinson, Ed Radclyffe, Deborah Matrice, Sean Kenan, U.F.A., Hayley Hillis and Felicity Jenkins.
Will, the gallery attendant, learns about privatisation and reality, steps back through the frame and finds his glasses on the floor after all. Was it all a dream?
Fringe festivals are meant for experimentation and try-outs, but this company operates too much on the scent of the milk of human kindness. The art works were generally interesting but the dramatic responses were relatively mundane. The origin of Full Tilt's work is in successful children's entertainment at the National Gallery of Australia, but only some of the dialogue draws on an adult view of art. The plot and characters are too naive in conception to carry the full weight of political commentary and reflective criticism of post-modernism which seems to be the objective.
The performers use commedia and circus skills, but not with the precision of timing and dramatic pacing which can amaze an audience seeing fools who could only appear so foolish because of their physical and intellectual prowess. Rapid-fire wit in words and mime is the first requisite for commedia: the Troupe has the idea right, but needs much more training.
The idea, the humour, and the critical analysis behind Freeze Frame are well worth developing, so now it is up to Danny Diesendorf, Robin Davidson, Mark Johnson and Sean Kenan - perhaps with the addition of a woman or two - to go Full Tilt towards sophistication of style, depth of research and theatrical discipline.
This year, the fringe: next year, towards the centre....© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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