FRINGWORLD: MKA: Being Dead (Don Quixote) (3 stars)

Review by Amanda Lancaster.

MKA: Being Dead (Don Quioxte) is Ms Manderson-Galvin‘s self-confessed attempt to say “something!” Something about the search for identity within the ideas of culture, gender and literature. Ultimately however, this “something” turns out to be more of an intimate expedition into the inner workings of the feminine mindset, and particularly, Manderson-Galvin’s personal ideas surrounding the search to find a voice to give to this identified self.

The show is set out in a series of short chapters, each signalled by a projection onto the stage’s screen and then accompanied by a small diatribe of either text, music, or dance. Although we are led into the belief that these chapters allow the audience to follow a narrative plot of some kind, the erratic and disjointed behaviour of the show leaves the audience feeling as if they are unable to grasp more than the most tenuous of grips on what it is Manderson-Galvin is attempting to say. This makes for a perplexing viewing experience as the audience constantly feels as if they are on tenuous ground and unsure as to what it is they are meant to be grasping. Cleverly utilising both repurposed texts and lyrical elements from her own works and modern day social medias, Manderson-Galvin’s Don Quixote is the attempted fusion of Cervantes‘ original 17th century classic stereotypes with the more modern abstract ideals of today’s society. This creates a weirdly erratic visual narrative seeming to take us absolutely everywhere and nowhere all at once.

While a bit bumpy in its tempo, often pausing too long in places and too harried in others, it is Manderson-Galvin’s sheer charm and honest stage presence throughout the show makes this piece not only entertaining but also worthwhile.  For instance, an opening scene in which Manderson-Galvin embodies the quintessential hero, Quixote as a modern day macho man attempting to explain just exactly what it is women want and what the perfect woman should be, treats us to an early look at just how razor sharp her wit and tongue can be.

Cleverly playing numerous alternating characters throughout the show with the use of minimal props and stagings, we are made keenly aware of one very unmistakable truth: that  although there may be a number of  characters seemingly at work here, these titles are little more than names given to the differing characteristics of a singular entity playing out its tempestuous battle on a singular stage. A stage set firmly within Manderson-Galvin herself.

Is Being Dead: Don Quixote a visual embodiment of the making and unmaking of voice and self or is perhaps Ms Manderson-Galvin merely tilting at windmills?

When: Sunday 24th and Monday 25th January (8:00pm)

Where: PICA performance space, Perth Cultural Centre

Tickets: $22 standard, $10 rush tix available

Info: Duration 60 mins, some nudity