Just how far will the media go for that breaking story, and how does the spin on it affect our lives?
Some might think it a little sneaky of Belvoir to include Human Interest Story in its main stage season. Not that the work isn’t fascinating in itself, but those hoping to see theatre in the traditional sense be warned – this is a dance piece, albeit a heavily narrative one.
It proves a smart call. I doubt the team behind HIS could have imagined the timeliness of their work, as the world’s largest news and current affairs empire teeters on the unnerving brink of accountability. We now can’t help but view the show in that darker context, and that suits it right down to the ground.
Six dancers are entranced by the glow of a widescreen plasma TV, before moving through various sections that, while exquisitely choreographed, often feel improvised, giving them a fresh, off-the-cuff immediacy. The piece toys with ideas such as the build-up of mundane stories to create ‘news’ narrative, or the nightly rituals of the general public as they willingly partake in an unending feast of mass-media – a concept played out visually in one of the more intense sections.
The delivery of the sparse dialogue is as varied as the piece itself. Some of it is stilted, exchanged like the shouts of kids in a playground, while other sections are delivered as tedious ramblings or matter-of-fact news or documentary narration.
The show doesn’t quite have enough ideas to sustain the full running time. The last quarter hour or so lacks the conceptual cohesion that serves most of the piece so well, as the choreography and themes become increasingly chaotic. But there’s still an exciting mix of clever ideas to enjoy, and you’re unlikely to see anything else like it on a mainstream theatre stage this year.
Human Interest Story plays at Belvoir Upstairs Theatre until September 18.
Tickets at www.belvoir.com.au or on 02 9699 3444.