Fear. It dictates the way we live our lives, circumscribes the places we inhabit. We huddle in our safety zones, pinned down in our circle of light. Run fast, hearts beating, head down, across the spaces between.
We open our security gate, hoping there is no-one, no-thing, lying in wait. Into our car, or to the bus. Avoid eye contact. Plug your ears. The office, school, or studio. Safe (hopefully). Transit quickly. Back home. One pool of comfort to another.
Yet what of the dark spaces between? Is there anything there? There is nothing. Is there?
The little fear that keeps us from looking under the fridge for that lost pin. The big fear that makes us build spiked walls around our homes, prevents us from reaching out to another, to whom we love. Stops us from bathing the complete scene of our lives in light and ironically invites the shadows closer. Creates fractures, bars, divisions between here and there, us and them. Keeps us isolated. Keeps us alone.
Inter.Fear takes our hand and walks us into the darkness upon which our phobias feed. With choreography that caresses even as it challenges, it does not attempt to alleviate our anxiety, but rather to bring us to terms with our misgivings. Sits us down at the same table.
It is not an easy dance. Literally. Inter.Fear doesn’t offer any solutions to our timidity.
It is uncompromising. Like clouds racing across a sickle moon on a freezing night, or waves unflinchingly pounding upon black cliffs. This is its beauty, for after all, we are fascinated by our fear. Acrophobia is as much a fear of heights as it is a reaction to the desire to fall.
Athena Mazarakis and Hansel Nezza do not flinch from this uneasy desire but embrace it in movement that is at times tender, at times agitated, yet throughout as all-consuming as the spectacle before which we tremor.
This…meditation on misgiving, this…dance of disquietude is inseparable from the stage upon which it takes place. Jenni-Lee Crewe has, with lighting designer Barry Strydom and digital artist Tegan Bristow, turned the norms of set design on its head. It’s as if she studied the rule book and then threw it away to create a space that does not create a platform for the performance, it dances with it.
It is clear this crew have a shared vision, a rare mutual creativity that reaches beyond the sum of its parts. Lighting and set design are interwoven with movement and an original score by Liannallul and Hansel Nezza to make darkness, the lack of light, as visible as light itself. Even our language struggles to convey the concept of making darkness a visible entity, but then language is not the medium of this work, only a part of it. Just enough to sketch an outline, to allow us to fashion a frame.
This is a work that strives to reach beyond rationality, to speak to that irrational angst, that unspoken trepidation, that universal intimate inner agitation. Not to shine a light on it. No, that would immediately destroy that with which it seeks to communicate. Light, sight, are inadequate here, in these recesses. Better touch, tenderness, raw embrace. For it is only darkness. There is nothing to fear. — Steve Kretzmann