Even before One Infinitybegins, it is clear that the show’s title is laden with meaning. As we file into the darkened theatre, we are directed to one of two seating banks that face each other. In the middle is the long rectangular performance space, its glossy black floor dotted with traditional Chinese instruments.
Out walks the show’s director and choreographer, Gideon Obarzanek, and an associate. He’s here to break the news that we are not just watching the performance, we are the performance. (A few awkward laughs are stifled; Obarzanek quips that we may not have come had we been warned!)
We are instructed to copy the gestures made by two dancers (Amber Haines and Gao Jing) whenever they are illuminated throughout the performance. It sounds a little banal but, as it is not yet clear how the mass mimicry will feature, we suspend judgment.
One Infinity at Melbourne International Arts Festival. Photo © Sarah Walker
The work begins. Through the inky darkness emerges the first few notes from a Chinese flute played on stage by co-composer Genevieve Lacey. Each long, floating note hints at something alluring and unearthly. Guqins played by the...