East Cultural Centre
Created by Lee Su-Feh and David McIntosh
Cultural Centre Date:
28 February at 20.00
Lee Su-Feh, Jen Murray, Billy Marchenski, Ron Stewart Musicians:
David McIntosh, Chris Grove, Max Murphy, Liz Hamel
Recipient of the 2002
Alcan Performing Arts Award, battery opera staged the eagerly awaited,
world premiere of Cyclops at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre
on Friday evening. Lee Su-Feh’s imaginative work invites the audience
to join the quartet of performers on a sojourn that attempts to explore
the elements of comradery, cannibalism, love, and death.
The symbolism and
loose metaphorical themes do not allow too much accessability to this
work. So much in the interpretation of the choreography would seem completely
understood only by its creators.
The male dancers,
Marchenski and Stewart, assume the comparatively linear roles as the voyagers,
while those of the two females, Lee and Murray, are more abstract and
The work begins anomalously
with a bare stage floor in total darkness, with only the sound of gurgling
water, rather like bilge water being removed from a boat. Finally, a half
light reveals a quartet of motionless figures disengaged from each other.
Lee is the first to offer any motion with clipped dance movements, but
soon giving rise to more fluid dance taking its form from tai chi chuan.
She is eventually joined in motion by the remaining three performers in
physically expressive choreography.
The two male performers
are left alone on stage to translate their perils at sea through cogent
contortions aided by clever sound effects, and absurd intermittent narration
from David McIntosh, who did however, deliver the sea shanties with no
shortage of gusto. In one such scene Marchenski and Stewart don oversized
white shirts while involved in frenetic motion to represent the billowing
of sails during a raging storm.
While the story is
related in the more tangible performance of the male dancers, it is Lee
and Murray who, with expansive forms, provide the work with its breath
and depth. Lee's choreography is well structured, yet leaves enough for
The title's mythical
reference to Odysseus' conflict with Polyphemus, is as conjectural as
any other aspect of this work. But perhaps that is teasingly deliberate,
and Cyclops is really a work in progress, intended to evolve beyond
its current state.