The Here Trio
Glὸria Ros Abellana in The Here Trio (filmed version). Image Luca Truffarelli.
The current incarnation of Liz Roche Company's The Here Trio proves curious for all the wrong reasons. An interdisciplinary hybrid of live dance and dance on film sees both vying for dominance. And it's dance that comes off the poor relation, serving the needs of the screen rather than the other way round. Fifteen minutes in to a fifty minute production, with so little live dance having taken place, you could be forgiven for wondering what was the point of coming? Haven't I seen this already? Do I really need to see it again on a bigger screen? Why aren't the dancers dancing more? Almost immediately, The Here Trio's aspiration to speak to boundaries and belonging takes on a whole other meaning.
Sarah Cerneaux, Ryan O'Neill and Glὸria Ros Abellana in The Here Trio (filmed version). Image by Luca Truffarelli
If scars provoke memory, so too does the screen. Indeed, in The Here Trio all we engage with are memories of an earlier performance by dancers Sarah Cerneaux, Ryan O'Neill and Glὸria Ros Abellana, courtesy of videographer and sound designer, Luca Truffarelli. Making this less The Here Trio so much as The Then and There Trio. Following a superb visual opening, so life like it looks like a hologram, the possibilities of an interesting conversation between screen and live body soon dissipate. Live dancing, taking forever to start, follows a stop start pattern dictated by the images on screen. Which live movement doesn't interpret or integrate so much as replicate. The dominance of the screen never clearer than when a hand held screen is moved around a projection of a drum kit. Drawing the eye away from live dancers shuddering onstage.
Lucia Kickham in The Here Trio (live version). Image by Luca Truffarelli
If the body stages a modest come back, it's almost by accident. Stripping down to change clothes, the body is made momentarily dominant in its visible near nakedness. Even as dancers Ryan O'Neill, Lucia Kickham and Glὸria Ros Abellana lip sync like cyborgs. Spouting tropes about place and space and scars. More satisfying is when silhouettes and shadows purposely block the images on screen, shifting from replicating to a modest challenging and repositioning of said images. Even as, yet again, the redesign is dictated by the images on screen. If the final moment restores something of what was lost, namely live bodies in a space performing to other live bodies, without the mediation of a screen, with dancers resolving collaboratively the moderate tension in the text, it all feels too little, too late.
A brave undertaking with high aspirations, The Here Trio sees duality make for poor reality as the screen serves to distance. Serving up a one-sided conversation that fails to offer fresh perspectives on the dancer in performance. If framing sometimes affords an illusion of intimacy, more often than not it limits visually and spatially. And limits the experience. Locking into a repeatable image what was once an unrepeatable live encounter. In which Roche's rich choreography looks two steps removed, playing second fiddle to a memory of itself.
The Here Trio, an original production commissioned by Maiden Voyage Dance, co-produced by & Liz Roche Company, runs at The Project Arts Centre until February 19.
For more information, visit Project Arts Centre