Architect of the Invisible is yet another Co3 production which engulfs its audience and transports them to a different place, time and state from start to finish.
Taking inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Raewyn Hill has structured this piece into the same three major sections of the classic text: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Despite the cool spring evening, I could feel the heat rising inside me as the show started and we entered the first circle of hell. The varied tortured souls and monsters found in Inferno crawled and climbed onto the vast stage, eliciting feelings of pain and suffering with jagged movements. Within the torment moments of beauty still emerged, particularly during a point of stillness with the dancers lying across the stairs on their backs with their heads pointed towards the audience, resembling the frozen lake of sinners.
The first sight of Tyler Hill’s expansive set is staggering. Ascending upwards to the point of being eye-level with the dress circle and descending downwards to being almost in the lap of the first row, the grandiosity of this design perfectly fits this story and has enabled daring choreography (a staple in a Co3 production).
Inferno, Architect of the Invisible. Photography by Daniel James Grant.
There was a clear transition moving into Purgatory. Ian Grandage’s string and percussion-driven composition moved from the sinister sounds of the Inferno to a calmer state that had me excited to hear what evolution would come next. Previously wearing nude coloured underwear and shorts the dancers became half-dressed, some wearing just tops and others wearing just bottoms. The limbo state of Purgatory was evident. The movement started to feel more fluid and brighter. At one-point Zendrea Giraudo was lifted as she curled in on herself and gently rotated across the careful hands of the other dancers.
Paradiso, Architect of the Invisible. Photography by Emma Fishwick.
A bar of light that was suspended halfway above the stage during Purgatory lifted to create a beautiful wall of luminosity, letting us know we were entering Paradiso. Feeling like a refreshing wave had washed over the audience, the sounds of nature and the site of vibrant colour invited us into a new state. The dancers were now fully clothed in bright colours and soft fabrics, the change of clothing enabling me to see them in a completely different way. Where Inferno was dark and gritty, Paradiso was sparkling and joyous. However, all sections felt layered and evocative.
Having started with a weeklong endurance exercise on Nyoongar and Gubrun Country, the show has maintained the spirit of perseverance and tenacity from which it initially evolved. Although those with greater familiarity of the Divine Comedy may recognise more within Architect of the Invisible that relates to the poem, the key themes that run through this piece such as transformation, connection and endurance, are clear as day.
Allow yourself to become enthralled and consumed by the Architect of the Invisible.
Architect of the Invisible is on now at The Heath Ledger Theatre through to October 15.