The great thing about festivals (and festival fringe programs) is that audiences get to see many works at an early stage in the creative process. This is not new in Brisbane. Brisbane Festival has previously had a number of ‘work in progress’ events. For example, I particularly enjoyed Expressions Dance’s First Ritual (an ‘in progress’ show which combined commentary from the choreographer/director with excerpts from the work in 2010, before the production returned to the Judith Wright Centre a year later). Having had the opportunity to see the briefing the year before greatly enhanced my experience of the final production.

Much in the same way, I am looking forward to seeing future iterations of Learning to Love Gravity, a work in development presented by PlayOn Productions  and Vulcana Women’s Circus at the Brisbane Powerhouse Stores Building.

Alexander Bayliss (writer) has taken an early idea, suggested by Lara Croydon (Performer-The Orphan), to produce a text that encourages us to reflect on the importance of “the ones that complete us: our friends, our family…our gravity.” The 30 minute work centres on the interactions between the gravity-fearing Orphan and the visiting Stranger (Sarah McLeod). The two performers worked really well together, capturing the child-like nature of their characters with some great comic timing.

Main picture: Sarah McLeod (Performer—The Stranger) in Learning to Love Gravity at Brisbane’s Powerhouse, 10th May 2015. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.
Main picture: Sarah McLeod (Performer—The Stranger) in Learning to Love Gravity at Brisbane’s Powerhouse, 10th May 2015. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

The concept is a simple one: a smooth amalgam of theatre and circus. Being a gravity-loving person myself, I am always impressed by those who can move effortlessly from silk to trapeze, or even spend significant amounts of time suspended upside down from the rafters. To engage in such physical theatre, while acting and speaking at the same time, was even more impressive and enjoyable to watch.

Main picture: Lara Croydon (Performer—The Orphan) in Learning to Love Gravity at Brisbane’s Powerhouse, 10th May 2015. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.
Main picture: Lara Croydon (Performer—The Orphan) in Learning to Love Gravity at Brisbane’s Powerhouse, 10th May 2015. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

Until I read the program, available at the venue, I wasn’t aware that Learning to Love Gravity was what the Director’s note referred to as a “first showing” (Steve Pirie, Director). I must admit, I was expecting a little more circus, or physical theatre, and perhaps a little less of the spoken word. But it’s a work in progress, and I realize that this balance may shift as the piece develops and lengthens.

I do hope that, as the work progresses, there can be more investment in the lighting (particularly of some of the work ‘in the rafters’). I also felt that the venue didn’t always help with the sound; the performers may need to slow down some of the speeches a little, as the sound can echo around the space. But these are small quibbles, and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment.

I saw the show on 10th May, 2015. There are three more opportunities to see this work in progress as part of Brisbane’s Anywhere Festival. It is on again on 22nd, 23rd, and 24th May, 2015.

Learning to Love Gravity shows just what is Pozible with crowdfunding support. Congratulations to all the people who ensured it became part of the Anywhere festival. I’d suggest you invest $19: take the opportunity to make your own mind up, and help the team fund the next stage of work on Learning to Love Gravity.

 

 

 

 

 

Main picture: Lara Croydon (Performer—The Orphan), upside down, and Sarah McLeod (Performer—The Stranger), standing, in Learning to Love Gravity at Brisbane’s Powerhouse, 10th May 2015. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.