How could you leave your country? The place you grew up in, how could you leave your loved ones in a place so bad you had to flee it yourself? The production of ‘Look the other way’ choreographed by Cadi McCarthy is clearly emotionally attached to the performers. Look the other way describes how people had to leave their home and become refugees, their fear and hatred needing the encouragement to move forward. The mixture of contemporary and hip hop really drives you into the performance and makes dancers, public and even you feel like a part of the attraction.
The choreographer clearly displays the variety of talent and emotive skills that all of the dancers consist of. The different interrogations of each dancer themselves are astonishing, having a wide range from the strength and intensity movements by Peter Fares to the smooth, soft and meaningful movements danced by Yillin Kong. The artistic use of props and lighting gives the texture of the movements on the performers and their facial expressions gave an overwhelming feeling inside; it’s a wakeup call to seeing how lucky we are as a country.
This was a very effective way to get the audience’s attention. Having to look the other way when all you feel is hopelessness is a very difficult thing to do. The characters make you feel as if they are portraying their country, getting away from the outrageousness and the terror. Sharing their side of the horrific stories. All distributing the same emotions betrayal and being forced to look the other way. The choreographer immersed herself into the stories of the young people who had overcome the sacrifice of fleeing their country to have freedom in Australia.
Cadi McCarthy clearly and successfully got her intent to the target audience (young students) expressing the dreadful descriptions by educating us through contemporary and hip hop dance. There are seven characters (not including the two boys who are still learning English) in the performance, each with different difficulties and reports to share with the world. They all show tolerance and ignorance to not give up and not give in. The movements and space used in this choreography by Cadi McCarthy entitles the effects and emotions she wants the audience to feel.
Each performer had their own special techniques which was used to their advantage. Movements such as slowly walking, shaking, and closed shapes, sharp turns, counter balancing and falling, these are indications of being pushed around. The fast, muscular movements were intimidating and in each other’s personal space. The most significant peace was the Riot (Fight scene) which was done in a group, but danced in duets. Showing the mob mentality, strength and power, giving the truthful facts that no matter how many times you’re pushed down, you shall thrive to get back up again, keep moving forward.
The costumes seemed rushed and not restricted which gave them freedom to move the clothing looking very unfavourable. Using very natural colours such as black, skin colour, white, and a flowered dress worn by Yillin showing the audience that they were in a rush, all they had was the clothing on their backs. The lighting effects by Andrew Portwine was dim and organic to set the mood, the angles of the light reflected off the dancers faces to give texture, dark gloomy looks.
The overall costumes and lighting was more than successful and gave the illusion to hardship for the audience. Tristen Parr and Matt Cornell did exceptional work on the soundtrack. The music had been made from scratch so it was an original peace. In the performance the music was recorded and instrumental throughout. You could feel the classical vibrations as if atmospherical, representing the extreme adversity and struggles (Production2; Sacrifice, where videos are used to tell us about true stories).
There were sections of the performance where the sound was live, like the word monologues where each dancer talks about accountings explaining what it was like to be a refugee (Peter Fares holding Yillin Kong on his shoulder while telling the story of his parents from Israel, Lebanon, and Syria to Australia). The most memorable and major feature of the props used was the ‘Opening boards’ (Designed by Laura Boynes and Tristan Parr) where the characters drag themselves across the stage and stand up onto a rocking board, representing the uncertainty to travel, external and internal fear of leaving their loved ones, the experience’s to come.
Using the boards as a boat and steps revealing their long journey to find freedom, using the rocking motion traveling the entire emotional ride with the characters. The boards drew the audience’s attention straight away to the restlessness and fear. The backdrop of four walls that were recycled substances designed by Monique Wajon (makeshift of materials found in refugee camps). These props communicated to the audience giving meaning and belief to the dance. The Buzz Dance Theatre has accomplished in reproducing all viewpoints of refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers.
Every possible aspect of contemporary and hip hop dance was put into this performance to accomplish the priorities and achievements of triumphing to the top. Each dancer attributes to the story in individual ways choreographed by Cadi McCarthy. I personally found that every phase used for this special performance including characters, music, costumes, choreography, set and props all worked exceptionally well together to produce a stimulating and significant enactment. Although a little dark I was defiantly motivated at the end of the performance.