ONEself is an altogether experimental and exciting dance work that personifies exactly what Fringe Festivals around the world should stand for; that is, creating a platform for new artists and work to be developed. ONEself explores notions of self-identity and belonging but in response to and in the surrounding digital interface.
Using one of the most hated words in “art speak,” this performance can only be described as being visceral as all get up. ONEself genuinely leaves you scratching your head for the first ten minutes of the performance. From this point of confusion, something genuinely beautiful does emerges, it transgresses and melds forms in the most sublime outcome.
Though technically a performance for one, dancer Isabella Whawhai Mason is by no means alone here, with the work of projection artist Edward Dann creating a sumptuous backdrop of moving image here allowing a delicate play to ensue between dark and light, a recreation of the physical and the digital interface. Similarly, Andy O’Connor has created a soundscape that at times perforates the choreography and physical plane and at other times falls into submission.
Somehow the creative team have managed a near impossible feat, having found depth within simplicity. ONEself goes momentarily deep, then only seconds later, snaps back into a far more playful notion. Repetition, loops and sequencing are all explored and used to their best advantage. There are genuine moments where this performance goes deeper than the physical, and the intimate space in which this performance is set affords it even more honesty and grit.
This is a really solid performance which delivers the audience something more than just dance. Unflinching, raw, brutalist, gentle and floating – the list of words we could use to describe this work goes on. It’s great work, and it’s another example of Melbourne’s burgeoning wave of fresh talent just starting to come up through the ranks. Isabella Whawhai Mason, Edward Dann and Andy O’Connor here prove that their names be ones to watch in coming years. ONEself has finished its Melbourne Fringe Festival 2017 season.