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[outdoor performance, Marrickville, December 1999. Performed in association with Urban Theatre Projects, and the UTP Ensemble. Funded by the Australia Council (Dance Fund) & NSW Ministry for the Arts (Theatre Program).]

Originally staged on a rooftop carpark, with the sky above, cityscape in the distance, and railway below, the set was an ingenious maze of shifting panels, a temple, encampment & circus, a huge red square (both religious & political). Moving as a translucent, constantly shifting system, the fabric panels on steel frames were activated through the performance activity to enclose, divide & sweep the audience from one created place to another.

Beautiful, disruptive, the maze oscillates between wild frenetic movements and patterns, and static regular and irregular shapes. As day turns to night, lead on by performers bearing light, the audience approaches what appears to be a large tent-like structure that is glowing with colour and activity. The sound of latches, opening and closing panels can be heard, and large shadows sweep in and out of each other, like some giant turning wheel. A cry is heard, a performer scrambles out, lights a solitary match and scuttles inside, two panels open and the audience enters.

Inside the large mobile maze the audience loses its bearings, companions lose and rediscover one another, surprise is experienced at every turn and at every opening of a panel. Layers of activity, incidental and accidental, are revealed and concealed, lost and found, ceaselessly changing, driven on by the compulsive action of performers who are both the master and slave of the giant apparatus. The maze folds into corridors, crosses, nine rooms enclosed and yet opening the audience onto the world around. With each fold, each shift or sweep of a panel an audience member might find themselves shut into a world with different travellers, perhaps they are locked in to witness the enactment of ritual, perhaps nothing. Strange deformed shadows move across the fabric that glows blood-red, foot-steps are heard, someone or something is coming, darkness falls, another opening another scene.

One enters this world and is entered by it, no sense is to be derived from it yet much is happening, it overwhelms. The scenes are ritualistic, not shocking, but bizarre, not easily understandable, yet powerful. The sound is moody, atmospheric, conducive to hypnotic and trance like states where one feels that an alien force is taking over.

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Tabernacle is supported by
NSW Ministry for the Arts
The NSW Ministry for the Arts

Australia Council for the Arts
This project is assisted by the Australia Council, the Australian Government's arts funding & advisory body, through its New Media Arts Fund
the audience outside the set
performers within the set
performers within the set
performers moving the set