PIAF - Theatre at the Quarry: Radio and Juliet - Quarry Amphitheatre
When told by a mutual friend that the performance would be “contemporary,” I fleetingly accepted her statement. However, it was not until I left the Quarry Amphitheatre that I realised how right she was. The ballet production left a few people scratching their heads. I was never expecting anything extravagantly traditional, but this recital left me completely and utterly amazed by what a professional group of dancers can achieve in the span of about two hours.
The Western Australian Ballet Company performed four pieces created by three talented choreographers. Two of which are amongst the most sought after international choreographers, and the other is one of Australia’s most talented artists. Itzik Galili’s two pieces The Sofa (performed to ‘Nobody’ by Tom Waits) and Mono Lisa also premiered on the night. Lucas Jervies also created a new production titled Epic Fail which explored the competitiveness of the dance world. After a short interval, premiered Radio and Juliet choreographed by Edward Clug.
Walking back to my car, I heard a western suburbs 60 year old ex ballerina say “I’m no purist, but that was not contemporary, their jackets were flapping everywhere, you could see no lines…By the title, I thought it was going to be about Romeo and Juliet, not about Radiohead.” The first half (first three dances) was relatively conceptually straightforward, so perhaps the more elderly people in the crowd were not mentally prepared for the amazing symbolic, and twisted version of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Alas, no excuses. You would have to be missing a chromosome to misconstrue the production. The ballet was intrinsically linked to the Shakespearian play. Perhaps, it wasn’t exactly what Mr. Shakespeare was imagining when he penned it, however time has passed, and new interpretations of the classic must be achieved.
Perhaps, there was a lack of arabesques, but that was certainly made up for with innovative choreography. Having seen multiple ballet productions, it’s undoubtedly refreshing to see a contemporary interpretation of such a classic (even more so to see it happening in WA.) As an aside, the production originally premiered in Slovenia in 2005. Nonetheless, it’s great to see such an avant-garde arrangement finally premiering in our state.
The question that was posed, “What would have happened if Juliet didn’t take her own life?”- The answer was within the dance. It was a retrospective through Juliet’s mind and her own experiences with Romeo. She would always be stuck in that moment of unfulfilled love with countless “Romeos.” With the soundtrack featuring some more of the ‘weird’ and ‘creepier’ Radiohead songs, the production flicked from romance to conflict with ease. Furthermore, where the set was lacking perhaps the video projection made up for it which kept punters engaged.
The trick is- not to enter the quarry with traditional expectations of “ballet” with tutus and lavish set designs. It’s all about the synchronization and symbolism. I really don’t want to give too much away- but after seeing the show, I feel so proud, and confident in Western Australian Ballet. The quarry’s relaxed environment made watching the ballet under the stars one of the best things I have done this summer. A must see for everyone, perhaps not the purists. This production was so fresh and unique, I really don’t think there is anything like this on at the moment. Infinity Beaut credit points. Cha ching.
Radio and Juliet along with the other Theatre at the Quarry shows run until the first of March, plenty of time, tickets are available here!
- Sarah Marshman