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HomeTheatreREVIEW: The Image of Dorian Grey (Auckland Arts Pageant)

REVIEW: The Image of Dorian Grey (Auckland Arts Pageant)


Images by way of Daniel Boud

[Big Canvas]

Carried out by way of actress Eryn Jean Norvill and built by way of a hardworking workforce of camera-people (Babi Bertoldi, Zoltan Jonas, Sam Steinle, Josh Vellis, Sean Waite and Simon Croker) and technicians, The Image of Dorian Grey is an epic, bold multimedia adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel.

Tailored and directed by way of Kip Williams, Dorian Grey is a maximalist revel in – providing dress adjustments, break up displays, or even some reside superimpositions, combining pre-recorded pictures of characters with the reside performer.

A few of it feels just like the display’s ambitions run amok, however as the tale proceeds, and the name persona turns into extra indifferent from the arena, that multiplicity of efficiency seems like Grey’s demons effervescent as much as break him.

The usage of a couple of cameras onstage, filming Norvill from a couple of angles, and projected on various displays of more than a few sizes (which transfer across the degree in more than a few configurations) creates a multiplicity of pictures, fragmented collages of characters, piecing in combination a way of the nature’s interiority. 

One of the most display’s most unusual sides is its use of cinematic tactics and processes – specifically its use of the close-up. Previously some of the primary variations between the medium of theater and movie, having a projection of Norvill’s face permits for extra refined efficiency possible choices, and produces an intimacy between the performer and the target market.

What additionally stands proud concerning the manufacturing is its emphasis on digital camera motion over modifying. In spite of the collection of displays, transitions and other environments, modifying – reducing pictures in combination – is have shyed away from (in step with my recollection). Modifying is an inherently highbrow workout – the juxtaposition of pictures are like numbers in an equation, which we put in combination to create new which means. Compared, digital camera motion, whether or not panning between characters or tilting up (or down) to sign in data, carries the possibility of evoking emotional shifts, to signify revelation, a shift in energy, or temper or goal.

When those various tactics paintings, the display is an epic meditation at the other roles humans play, their inner conflicts, the blurry line between the non-public and public self, and the queer subtext underpinning Grey’s motivations and relationships (and some of the key examples of the display’s use of close-ups).

Central performer Eryn Jean Norvill manages a herculean job, now not simply relating to juggling other characters (and dress adjustments), however in keeping up a method of efficiency that may paintings as a work of reside theater, whilst having the ability to sign in on digital camera with no need to regulate for the larger scrutiny it permits.

I left the manufacturing enthusiastic about its building, and gazing its shifting items come in combination. The video paintings (designed by way of David Bergman) is memorable, and jointly with lighting fixtures manager Nick Schlieper and composer-sound clothier Clemence Williams, is helping to handle the ambience of the piece.

I will not say I used to be moved by way of it.

There have been a couple of issues the place it felt just like the display was once overtaken by way of its personal shape. Possibly that is the results of gazing such a lot of displays made at the sniff of an oily rag, however there have been instances all the way through the display the place I felt like there was once now not sufficient left for the target market’s personal creativeness. There’s such a lot use of displays, and pictures of characters performing in different environments, that it begins to really feel overwrought, and begins to obstruct the affect of Norvill’s efficiency. 

It additionally feels slightly too literal – by way of the dint of being a solo piece, the display is already being narrated. I nearly needed the display turned into smaller because it went alongside, turning into extra indifferent from actual props and units.

The folk I went with loved it, and I didn’t hate the revel in, however I did depart wondering the impact of the manufacturing’s ambition at the textual content. On the very least, as a merging of various media bureaucracy and languages, this can be a textual content value experiencing.

The Image of Dorian Grey performs Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre 18th to the twenty fifth of March 2023 as a part of the Auckland Arts Pageant.

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