Freedom Hi, VAULT Festival

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by Amber Pathak

Making a show political without feeling like a rant is a tough nut to crack; too much seriousness and you’re the news, not enough and you look misguided. The company Papergang Theatre make it look easy. They’ve incorporated just about every performance medium: dance poetry, lecture, video. This is proof that less is not always more.

The dancing in particular is well thought out. Movements changed tempo to mirror the sound in the room, and Pui Yung’s sombre serenity added a lot to the atmosphere. Ghost Chan’s methodical movements have the opposite effect of adding  alertness to the space; they balanced each other out perfectly. It’s hard to describe it as anything other than beautiful.

This performance moves fast, perhaps too fast for those less well-versed in the world of performance art. Despite this, it is very enjoyable as it moves through many different narratives in such a short span of time. I am forced to divulge them my full attention (apart from checking the show’s group chat).  That being said, it would have been more effective if they had made joining the Telegram app compulsory. Seeing everyone taking part in this digital aspect is fun, and I do love a good texting sesh.

There are many sections of the showcase that consist of spoken word, with each providing another piece of information, like what to do in a tear gas attack or how to survive a siege. Then there is Jennifer Lim’s solemn speech that gives real goose bumps down the back. This show proves the power of voice should never be underestimated.

Freedom Hi runs through 15 March.

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