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  • Fiona Prior

Forever and Ever

Forever and Ever

Frame of Mind

Choreography: Rafael Bonachela

A simple room with peeling paint, the shadowed silhouettes of its graceful occupants as they interact across the shadowy interiors. A light changes (lighting design by Benjamin Cisterne) and a figure appears, as if from the shadows and joins another in an intricate coupling. Again, the lighting shifts and a lone girl pushes at a window, wistfully watching a view that is hidden from the audience and that is framing of her world.

I saw Bonachela’s ‘Frame of Mind’ when it premiered in 2015 and it still moves me with its subtle monochromatic ambience. I love the way the lithe and simply costumed dancers (set and costume design by Ralph Myers) inhabit this fading room, engaging with each other and then disappearing from each other’s lives, only to re-emerge from the shadowy recesses of the room/our memory ‒ the transitions of lighting making us wonder if is hours, days or years that have passed ‒ to re-engage in this dance of shifting relationships.

The elegance of Bonachela’s ‘Frame of Mind’ is perfectly accompanied by live music from the Australian String Quartet.

Forever and Ever

Choreography: Antony Hamilton

And then, we are shaken from Bonachela’s ambient spell by the jerking motions of a small androgynous figure on stage, initially moving in silence until an electronic accompaniment pulses into play. Anthony Hamilton’s ‘Forever and Ever’ is accompanied by the electronic beats of a composition by his brother Julian Hamilton (Presets).

Suddenly, a strangely Byzantine parade of heavily cloaked figures (costume by Paula Levis) incongruously moves onto stage, slowly and menacingly approaching the small and now comparatively vulnerable figure.

What occurs from here is a magic work of tension, humour and surprises, taking us from diminutive to overblown, laid back to the almost ludicrously dignified, overtly abstracted to a point that is so muscular and sweaty you can almost sense the grinding of teeth and the flying perspiration of a dance floor. Lighting (again by Benjamin Cisterne) is just one of the elements of this work used to surprise and shock as we continually move from familiar to the unexpected.

Of course, it is the physical prowess of our wonderful Sydney Dance Company performers that finally brings both these works to life.

A contrast of works by the two unique creatives Bonachela and Hamilton is ‘Forever and Ever’.

Forever and Ever

Until 27 October

Roslyn Packer Theatre

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