Cockburn Gazette - - LOOK LOCAL - Tanya MacNaughton

RAEWYN Hill fell in love with Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Satoshi Okada’s work in 2008 when she stum­bled upon his Mt Fuji House de­sign, but the Co3 con­tem­po­rary dance com­pany artis­tic di­rec­tor never imag­ined he would one day de­sign a set for her.

The pair met in Tokyo in 2010 and forged a re­la­tion­ship through a mu­tual de­vo­tion to line and light in their in­di­vid­ual art forms un­til Hill, of Shenton Park, returned to Ja­pan last year on a Tokyo Won­der­site res­i­dency.

“I was there for 10 weeks and saw Satoshi a cou­ple of times and fi­nally plucked up the courage to ask if he would con­sider de­sign­ing my next work,” she said.

“He was quite taken aback be­cause he de­signs these in­cred­i­ble homes and con­cert halls. His de­sign pal­ette is on a very large scale; he’s never de­signed for the­atre be­fore.”

Okada agreed to the chal­lenge and the two be­gan col­lab­o­rat­ing, mostly via email, on The Zone, which is at Heath Ledger The­atre, Septem­ber 7 to 16, fea­tur­ing live mu­sic by Eden Mul­hol­land.

Hill said the work had three lev­els of in­spi­ra­tion, the first be­ing her fas­ci­na­tion with sur­re­al­ist art after three months in Paris in 2009.

“I was then ap­pointed artis­tic di­rec­tor of Dan­cenorth in Townsville and dur­ing that first year we had Cy­clone Yasi, the Queensland floods and the Christchurch earth­quakes,” the New Zealan­der said.

“What I started to see was the me­dia drenched in these sur­re­al­ist im­ages. I be­came fas­ci­nated with the idea of how com­mu­nity formed in ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­pe­ri­ences from shared ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Okada’s set de­sign traps the Co3 dancers in the per­for­mance space with few en­trance/exit options, cre­at­ing an en­ergy Co3 - The Zone Heath Ledger The­atre Septem­ber 7 to 16 www.tick­etek.com.au

that is ex­haust­ing.

“That’s another thing that hap­pens in a disas­ter; it doesn’t just hap­pen in an hour be­cause there’s an enor­mous build-up to it and then it hap­pens and then there’s the big clean-up,” Hill said.

“So you’re phys­i­cally and men­tally ex­hausted while you’re go­ing through one of these nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

“We cre­ate this en­vi­ron­ment on stage which is re­lent­less and dancers can only es­cape by get­ting over the walls.”

Okada will briefly travel to Perth for open­ing night and a pre-show talk, so Jonathan Lake at HASSELL ar­chi­tects has over­seen the trans­fer of his de­sign to set in the re­hearsal space at MosArts in Mosman Park.

“At one point, the set goes from 2m to 6m in height and we’ve had to work on the set be­cause the dancers hang on it and jump off it,” Hill said. “It’s not some­thing we could chore­o­graph without it; Jonathan has been in­stru­men­tal in be­ing able to over­see that de­sign to stage.”

Pic­ture: Andrew Ritchie d473002

Dancers Mitch Har­vey, Andrew Searle, Zoe Woz­niak and Kather­ine Gurr on the set of The Zone at the Heath Ledger The­atre next month.

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