It is so exciting to discover a new talent. Not exactly discover, as Justin Shoulder has been performing for a few years now, but it is the first time I’ve viewed his work and I was thrilled to be present at the world premiere of Justin Shoulder’s Carrion, part of the Performance Space and Liveworks Festival.
When you see as much quality theatre, ballet and performance as do I and then a 9:00 pm performance at Sydney’s Carriageworks knocks your socks off you can’t help thinking ‘Yay!’
Justin works with a trade-mark material of billowing plastic appearance and controls this ‘skin’ with balletic grace making it at times cheeky, mysterious, sexual, fierce and always extraordinary.
The minimal and well chosen props on stage made me feel that a giant bower bird had been scavenging in a wasteland and has found poignantly kitsch approximations of a world that no longer exists. A similar feeling of melancholy had descended on me when I first saw Janet Laurence’s museum display-like artwork In memory of nature many years ago at the Art Gallery of New South. The isolation of Shoulder’s beastie was so sadly highlighted by its obvious fixation on these replica, tweeting birds that I felt I was observing a monstrous orphan trying to find some friends. (Mind you, my little monster does try to eat the plastic birds at a later stage of the performance!)
I just loved Carrion! I loved it originality, grace and the childlike tragedy of this future monster's loneliness.
Lead Artist: Justin Shoulder
Composer: Corin Lieto
Mentor and Artistic Collaborator: Victoria Hunt
Costume Design and Set Design: Matthew Stegh and Justin Shoulder
Lighting and Visual Design: Benjamin Cisterne