I got an awesome opportunity to review a very exciting new performance last night at FortyFive Downstairs. The show is called Silhouettes, Inside Outside and it turned out to be one of the most interesting performances I’ve ever been to.
If words like “audience participation” freaks you out, this show will definitely change your mind.
Inspired by parental feedback from her Paint What You Hear workshops, artistic director Erica Rasmussen wanted to create an interactive experience where adults and kids can engage with art and music simultaneously.
Collaborating with a bunch of talented musicians such as Nat Grant (percussion), Andrea Keeble (violin), Elisse Kleiner (flute), this lush performance is enriched with Annabel Warmington’s lighting installation and the works of artists Natalya Garden-Thompson and Sam Haycroft.
The space, covered floor to ceiling in fabric, becomes both a stage and audience seating. The space floor, littered with bright plump cushions, invites audience members to sit closer. Paint brushes and palettes are poking out from various nooks, enticing you to paint something.
The musicians take their place behind the screens, creating a beautiful but eerie soundscape of “real” sounds using the flute, violin and percussions. Most striking was Keeble’s interpretation of what I think is a lawnmower using her violin. Their silhouettes, painted onto the screens by three artists, soon become large expressive shapes and stories. The artists then start to paint to the rhythm of the music using smooth lines, flicks of paint and flutters of curved strokes. They were almost dancing with the music. It was really wonderful to watch.
After the intermission, it was our turn to interpret the music with a paint brush. Pots of paint, chalk, textas and pastels filled the floor, encouraging us to shake off our inhibitions and paint what we feel. Everyone got very involved and I felt a great sense of catharsis being part of the performance in such a unique way.
If you love the idea of fusing music and art or just want to challenge your ideas of audience participation then this is for you. The show is on until November 1, so don’t miss out on this gem.
Silhouettes, Inside Outside
Artistic Director: Erica Rasmussen
Percussion: Nat Grant
Violin: Andrea Keeble
Flute: Elisse Kleiner
Lighting installation: Annabel Warmington
Artists: Natalya Garden-Thompson and Sam Haycroft