Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Victoria Falconer. The Space. 24 Jun 2022
Willingly living on the periphery of human life, yet drawn into it by her insatiable creative drives, Australian artist Vali Myers (1930- 2003) was a living conundrum.
On one hand, wild, untameable, more a creature of the natural world opposing human civilisation. On the other hand, possessed with a sensibility uniquely equipped to express through dance, sketching and painting a vision of the world and herself that opened disturbing, mystical and surreal visions of truths lying beneath the seemingly ordered and orderly reality of the surface world we all perceive. From the bush, to the denizens of Paris, New York and Italy post WWII.
Victoria Falconer’s exposition of this extraordinary artists life and inner being is an intensely engaging, alienating, reflectively introspective production which constantly pushes the audience towards two states of mind simultaneously; a deepened sense of the mystical, of things natural; and having to accept a hard harshness, a drive to live that is clearly dangerous to be too close to.
Myers is portrayed not by one, but several women garbed in Myers’ famed flaming red tresses, Kohl rouged eyes and variations of dress covering her lifetime from youth to close of life.
This tack allows gradations of Myers’ unconventional, forceful life and a wonderful sense of differing emotion, passion, innocence and cynicism. It most particularly, powerfully magnifies myriad strands of Myers’ personality and creativity in musical performance.
While Myers’ diaries provide linking dialogue and transitions, it’s the songs composed for this production that provide the means of expression to the hard-to-grasp depths of this singularly complex being. That, alongside a deeply beautiful, trippy lighting design and evocative burn-through projections of Myer’s most striking art works.
If anything could improve the show, it would be a higher production value to projections and possibly staging it in the round.
The ensemble of nine actor/musicians and one canine’s work is deliciously transfixing to experience. They work to evoke, what at production’s end becomes, a wordless, otherworldly phantasm of this creature called Vali Myers we sense beyond her own creations.
Where: The Space