More an experience than a show, Blaas (Blow) crosses the divide between audience and performance several times over. If you have a chance to see it and don’t want the surprise spoiled, stop reading here.
The hall is filled with nothing but bunched fabric on the floor. To the sound of a glitchy drone (evolving into Nordic style ambient electronica) a large cuboid shape inflates before us. It seems to breathe and pulsate – it’s hard to see how it’s being animated. There must be a performer inside, but the thing is so well conceived and executed that its mystery remains intact. It seems weightless, leaving the floor and clinging to the wall. It ruffles, trembles, feels the walls for a way out, retreats, gathers itself before advancing.
The audience react to it as if it is sentient. It touches them, many laugh and reach out, charmed by its tactile explorations. It falls over them, rolls away and . . . it has stolen a spectator, who emerges from beneath it, halfway across the hall! Before long it has absorbed and released two more.
And that’s just the beginning. Before this work of abstract puppetry, disembodied dance and experiential art installation is over, we have all been invited into the ‘mothership’ – huge billowing counterpart to the cuboid. Light disappears, wind rushes and the rippling membrane of the womb-space we are now kneeling and sitting within shudders, rocks and snaps around us. Red strobe lights and sounds reminiscent of blood-rush and heart-thump envelop us, subsiding later into silence and serenity.
Describing it doesn’t transmit the surprise and the pleasure of stepping all the way in to this truly immersive, innovative ‘happening’ of a show. Whether alien, amoebic, or my own body’s cells, I feel privileged to have been invited in.
Performed Sun 20 May, at the Moulescomb Leisure Centre.