Mechanical phoenix. Garry Stewart’s G can succinctly be defined as a machine, where performers transform from one whole into eleven devices of dancing parts that buzz to and fro on the stagy contraption, intending to leave the spectators mesmerized by this re-invention of the classic romantic ballet Giselle.
It is the tragic love story of a peasant girl and a nobleman who disguises himself as a peasant to woo her. When his identity is revealed, a devastated Giselle goes mad and dies of shock. In Act Two, her spirit meets the nobleman and saves his life from vengeful spirits, The Wilis. Stewart deconstructs and then reconfigures this 1841 classic. “Sociological context that envelops the broader ideas that emanate out of Giselle” are a reflection on that era, where “psychiatrists focused on [and] created pathologicalisation of women [who] were incarcerated because they were considered hysterical,” he says.
By creating numerous ‘selves’ instead of one Giselle character, that are fluid and multi-faceted due to the combining of “different micro-perspective or micro-segments of the narrative,” Stewart has managed to transcend time yet retain the essence. Kimball Wang, one of the dancers, agrees: “[G] retains the same relentless nature [but has] changed theatricality to perhaps get a slightly more ironic look.”
With themes of love, death, gender, suffrage and forgiveness, G is set to enthrall audiences.
In the words of Wang, G will be “relentlessly energetic, and theatrically demanding!” (JR)
May 16-18, Sydney Theatre, 22 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, $30-59, 02 9250 1999, sydneytheatre.org.au
BY JOSEPH RANA