Flaunt Version 1.0 (2014)

Flaunt (version 1.0):  September 2014 – November 2014

After finishing my film Ward of State in 2014 I was keen to make a new live work for the stage. The opportunity came with a call out from The Brisbane Powerhouse through an initiative called “Sweet”.

“SWEET! is Brisbane Powerhouse’s season for new contemporary performance. Quite simply, it is an artist-led program focused on assisting local performance makers to create and manage their own work, supported heavily by the infrastructure and resources of a major multi-arts venue”

https://brisbanepowerhouse.org/events/2015/05/15/sweet/

Funding from the Australia Council financed Sweet. I applied, as did 80 others. I was thrilled to be one of the 3 projects selected. This meant developing a new work at the Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse and with some financial and technical support from the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Brisbane Powerhouse Press release:

SWEET #2 | Flaunt by Claire Marshall Projects | Visy Theatre, 10 – 23 Nov 2014 Flaunt uses reflections and refraction of light scaffold and clear Perspex and occurs in the round and above the audience. The dancers move in and out of entanglements as they flaunt contemporary bold gutsy dance movements onto clear Perspex surfaces (visible to the audience below) exploring the sexualised representation of the human body against a humanless backdrop.

For Flaunt, I had a vision of a giant Perspex stage and the audience being able to see the action from above or below. The Visy is where I created Hey Scenester, (2010) Slowdive (2010), and shot Pulse (2012) and it is one of my favourite theatres. I wanted to ensure the space would look different to the previous times I have used it as always, the first step was a visit back to my favourite little Visy Theatre and to imagine Flaunt in the space.


On the stairs of the pit, there’s still fake blood stains from Hey Scenester in 2010.

INSPIRTATION:
The inspiration for Flaunt came about when I was researching women in my family for my film Ward of State. I found a newspaper article about a distant relative who was a singer in the late 1880s. The advert was for her performance. It made me think about how women today advertise themselves on social media compared to how women did in the 1880s. I had the idea of examining women under a microscope on a giant slab or screen, and investigating how they publish and promote themselves today on Instagram, Facebook, selfie photos and researching the psychology behind how viewing other’s photos can impact on other young women.

Photographer Mark Greenmantle shot the hero image with dancer Kirri Webb as the subject. The hero/ poster photo was taken at Mill Street Studios late one night in August with the smoke machine cranking and with a test piece of Perspex. Stephanie Patterson did hair and make up.

Below: Make-up artist Stephanie Patterson under the Perspex for a cheeky photo.

CREATIVE TEAM:
My first point of call was budding set designer Frances Hannaway, who had helped with some earlier creative developments and with some of the renovations at Mill St. With Fran’s design background as well as dance background, I knew that Fran would be up for the challeges of Flaunt. It would become a massive learning curve for us both.

I showed Frances my rushed drawing (above) for how I imagined the space and set and Frances drew technical drawings in CAD.

This is the Perxpex (plexiglass) sitting in the custom built frame. Each piece weighted 100kg. 
Assembly of the set in the rehearsal space at the Brisbane Powerhouse:

REHEARSALS/ DEVELOPMENT:
Rehearsals commenced in October 2014 with a few rehearsals at Mill Street Studios before moving to the residency at the Brisbane Powerhouse in October (at the Turbine Rehearsal space). Rehearsals we over 4.5 weeks and quite intense due to the volume of work I needed to create.

From the rehearsal space the set was bumped into the theatre for the performance season. As always, the powerhouse staff were exceptional and we had help from their production team: Simon, Matt, Minty, & Kev.

I had engaged 4 dancers who I had worked with before: Miranda Zeller, Mariana Paraizo, Kirri Webb, and Amelia Stokes (who I had not worked with since youth dance company Urban Ignition and before Amelia had gone to train at WAAPA). I knew that these dancers understood my movement vocabulary and that as a team we would work quickly.  The rehearsal times were such a highlight of the development time.

Much of the movement material was developed without the main set due to hold ups in the construction and we were eager keen to work with the set once it arrived despite some inintal fear of the height of it.

METRO ARTS:
It was a huge relief that Metro Arts contacted me looking for a work to produce. Trying to produce a work and make a work at the same time often sees the creative aspects suffer.  https://www.metroarts.com.au

The back-story of Metro Arts (formerly Maps for Artists) is that they offer creative producing services to artists making work in Queensland.

BUMPING INTO THE VISY THEATRE:

To dismantle the set and move it just a few metres into the theatre saw a lot of problem solving, but it was great to work all this out before touring the work.

Flaunt assembly video:
https://vimeo.com/116275386

We had a week in the Visy to finish developing the work in the space as well as rig, focus, and plot liting.

Below: photo of dress rehearsal (by Mark Greenmantle)

We built a crypt in the floor for one of the mannequins in the floor (seen further below with dancer Mariana Paraizo).

We used projection in the show and photographer Mark Greenmantle took some “Selfie-inspired” photos of the dancers that were projected in the piece.  Below: Dancer Amelia Stokes. Photo by Mark Greenmantle

The projections occurred during the performance also.


The projections occurred on a large Perspex cube we filled with haze.

Mannequins were included in Flaunt and they became a part of our publicity campaign with their own Instagram account. Flaunt being about women and power, the mannequins were brilliant for posing as life examples of young women today. This actually generated interest in the piece among non-contemporary dance audiences.

This is Madaleine.Madaleine embraced life at the Brisbane Powerhouse, but not so much in rehearsal.
Madaleine also crashed some parties (and our instagram campaign)

Lighting designer Michal Richardson and Stage Manager Mitch Cooley were an integral part of the team too. Lighting is always so important and Michael Richardson was a brilliant young lighting designer to work with.

Here’s a few more photos of Flaunt 1.0 by Mark Greenmantle/ Mark Greenmantle Photography.

Press for the Sunday Mail:

The performance season of Flaunt occurred from the 18th to the 22nd of November 2014. The 5 show season came close to a sell-out season with 4 of the 5 performances selling out.

SNIPPETS:

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