There are some nights when the weather plays its role as if part of the performance. This was the case one very hot eve, when I went to see Ashley Dyer’s “Life Support” at Dancehouse in Carlton North, on the first day of Dance Massive 2013. The idea of being trapped within a room that slowly grows airless as smoke fills and chokes, on such a close night seemed to work hand in glove. Waiting in the foyer, already a claustrophobic air. People fanned themselves with their Dance Massive programmes or whatever came to hand in futile bid to cool the skin. I stand near to the open door where a slight breeze is circulating thanks largely, it seems, to a passing stream of after work traffic snaking along Princes Street. Such is the heat. Relentless. Ongoing. Cooler outside in the polluted air, standing in the last of the sun than inside in a small foyer. A cool change promised, but when … . The crowd in wait is one sweaty mess of opening night excitement. And it is from this one airless room that we move through to the next, though larger and darker, yet airless room. One body of curious punters, we’ve elected an audience member by show of hands, as the person to speak for us and call the performance to an end once a red light appears. Based on a survey filled in by those who arrived early enough to do so, Grace, our nominated collective voice, our own life support, responded that she had saved her fiancé's life by nursing him back to health with serves of chicken soup and much care. She is now charged with the task of deciding our fate as an audience. It will be up to her when the performance is truly over, to decide when the doors can be opened and fresh air granted.
Ashley Dyer's “Life Support.” Photograph by Clare Britton