Review: Dining [Uns]-Table‏ (PACT Centre For Emerging Artists)

pact1Venue: PACT Theatre (Erskineville NSW), June 17 – 20, 2015
Choreographer: Cloé Fournier
Director: Cloé Fournier
Cast: Cloé Fournier
Image by Katy Green Loughrey

Theatre review
Events from childhood have the potential to shape a person’s entire life, no matter how innocuous they might seem at the time. Little souls have a kind of sensitivity that adults forget, and things that we do and say can have a lasting effect beyond any of our intentions. Cloé Fournier’s Dining [Uns]-Table is an exorcistic ‏work that draws inspiration from memories of a Christmas party with family members many years ago. Fournier works from a base of dance and physical theatre, but she establishes a definite sense of narrative, to provide her audience with reference points that allow us to connect with the surprising range of emotions that are being expressed. The style of art on stage is experimental and its language is thrillingly original, but all its moments are communicative and we read the unconventional presentation from an instinctive and familiar space of interior intimacy. Fournier’s exploration of her personal memory, is in conversation with our own remembrances, and the commonalities we are able to locate, are divine.

If essential ingredients for theatre are inventiveness and a spirit for adventure, Dining [Uns]-Table scores top marks. Furthermore, it is performed with exceptional gusto and flair, by a dancer whose talents are diverse and irrepressible. Fournier’s physicality is flawlessly employed by her own choreography, which is in turn, always thoughtful and refreshing. Her presence is that of a seasoned actor, with the ability to convey story and sentiments clearly and succinctly, always keeping us enthralled. The artist has a precise approach that leaves no stone unturned, and the show feels exhaustive both in terms of what it wishes to depict, and how it does so. The experience is fascinating and all-consuming, and by the end, we are completely satisfied and leave the space thoroughly impressed.

When we approach a work of art, we hope to see a reflection; not an exact facsimile of selves, but a representation of the human condition that we can relate to. This requires both creator and viewer to take a step forward, and to find a point of contact that will spark imagination and hopefully discover something meaningful. In Cloé Fournier’s work, we get in touch with elements that are fundamental to the construction of our identities, shared or personal. The depth that she leads us to, comes not as a result of the divulgement of details from her own experiences, but from the way she seeks to move us in the space that we temporarily encounter. There is so much power in the meeting of strangers at the theatre, and Dining [Uns]-Table agitates an eruption that brings new definition to how things are made and received on Australian stages.