Settling myself down on the pavement in the middle of Charles Street is not something I would normally do on a Friday afternoon but I felt I had a valid excuse. And so did the crowd gathering around me. We were there for Pane.
The large shopfront windows of established retailer Jessups Retravison became host to a delightful yet surprisingly complex performance. Set against the huge fifties-era photographic backdrops of Nicole Robson, seven middle-aged women began the first cycle of dance choreographed by Glen Murray.
What is so interesting about Pane is that this is essentially a two part performance; one show during the day and one during the evening. Though catching one or the other will not lessen the experience, Pane addresses a different perception with both. During the day, reflection is everything. The onlooking crowd become aware of their own voyeurism through the transparent mirror of glass. The dancers move behind and while we can see them, they can see us and we can also see ourselves. Without being directly an interactive experience the audience are collaborators in this performance and add to the complexity of the piece. At one point I was looking at the reflection of myself when a shift in light allowed the dancer more illumination and she came to the fore. A look of agony trapped on a female face was superimposed over mine.
Expressions of pain, joy, and at times playfulness are all evident as the dancers move skilfully throughout their routine. A return to the evening performance will see the same thing, however the internal lighting and atmosphere - not to mention the stunning backdrops and costumes - become more apparent and the true sense of entrapment in a suburban domestic lifestyle resonates with music and movement. This piece disguises itself in an era, yet I feel the underlying emotions are still very present in contemporary times.
The shopfront provides the aspect of looking in. However this isn’t perhaps the idyllic lifestyle that one would normally associate with the marketing used by shopfront displays. Pane is a clever, beautifully performed piece and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Both times!