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FRINGE '04 REVIEW: Turbulent Flux

In Turbulent Flux storytelling is about evoking fragments of images and memories, portraying the vibrancy of life, accident and the flux of time.

Turbulent Flux

City Gallery Cinema 8pm Till February 14th
ticket prices $12/10
bookings : 384-3311

Reviewed by Sven Mehzoud (with Alastair Thompson)

Jeff Henderson - Piano
Julie Hill - Words
Stephen Bain - Direction & Video
Tracey Monastra – Set

See Press release ---> Turbulent Flux

Turbulent Flux is not of the genre of multimedia performances we have become accustomed to recently. Rather the performance is somewhat reminiscent of the pre-technology era consisting of a subtle interaction between the narrators voice, live music and video footage.

Throughout the show Julie Hill - the narrator (as storyteller) - talks for fifty minutes, relating real stories from real people's lives.

Hill easily managers to hold our attention, her voice only subtly changes intensity over the course of the performance evoking gentle – fluid – changes in characterisation in the mind's eye of her audience. Her voice carries the characters in the performance, evoking their gender, race, relationships, needs and desires. But all in one body. One voice.

The stories of life in NZ are diverse. One story relates to a family of Middle Eastern immigrants. A mother tells the story of arrival. A son tells of fighting with his father, and a father then complains about his wife.

Another story relates the life of a travelling opera singer. This is contrasted with the story of a touring pub singer who decides glam rock is not for her.

A family tells the story of going on holiday and having their house burn down. A child talks of what they took with them. A sibling talks about an argument with the father about what not to bring.

The performance is intimately set in the City Gallery cinema auditorium. In front of the screen art packing crates are stacked with a piano on top locating musician Jeff Henderson who accompanies Julie's stories with a fascinating soundscape.

Jeff Henderson’s music, like Julie's voice, becomes a medium for story telling. The piano's machine has been modified and at times Henderson strokes rather than plays his keyboard. Sounds other than notes emerge.

All the while film fragments assembled by Stephen Bain are projected on the screen. This material does not appear closely related to the narrative, making instead another layer in this three layered story telling. A combination of video and super 8 footage, it too evokes the turbulent flux in people's lives in New Zealand. Ford Falcons, Holdens, children playing up for dad's family camera, boating. At times the film is nostalgic taking the audience to a quieter time back in the 1960s and 70s.

For me the highlight of the performance was Jeff Henderson’s accompaniment, which was not simply music, and as a performance told a set of stories all its own.

In Turbulent Flux storytelling is about evoking fragments of images and memories, portraying the vibrancy of life, accident and the flux of time. This is successfully conveyed through all three media used in the performance.


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