Part art installation, part short film, and part one woman show, 2 Dimensional Life of Her is an exciting piece that challenges our concept of theatre. The space itself looks like a paper wonderland: huge pieces of paper line the walls, and a blank canvas is propped up on an easel. A paper cut-out of a woman stands on a chair. Shredded pieces of paper litter the stage floor.
It begins with the image of a woman (Fleur Elise Noble) projected onto the paper cut-out. The first surprise is when the woman begins to move. The next surprise is when the woman leaves the cut-out, her footsteps echoing throughout the theatre. She proceeds to clean the huge pieces of paper, revealing even more surprises and scenes that are scrubbed, torn, or scribbled into existence. Filmed drawings and puppetry give the visual life of the scenes, while clear sound effects make them heard. 2 Dimensional Life of Her follows the woman as she finds her paper cut-out and engages with her artistic creations.
2 Dimensional Life of Her has some of the best multimedia I have ever seen. Noble, who created the concept and design, deftly handles all aspects of the piece, from her rebellious puppets to the interplay of the filmed images and happenings on stage. I especially enjoyed her use of contrast with light and darkness.
But the real magic happens when Noble herself enters the stage and directly addresses her creations—and the audience. This is when theatre happens, as she creates a human connection between herself and her art. Until her entrance, the piece felt more like an art exhibition or a film viewing rather than a theatrical experience. One instance of this ambivalence occurs when a group of puppets “enter” the paper backdrop, armed with a movie camera. They have a conversation illustrated with text bubbles:
“Is this a movie?”
“No, it appears we have an audience!”
“They’re in the way.”
The artwork doesn’t know what it is yet, but I would love to see what happens when the artist comes to a more definitive creation.
Other UTR reviews: C’est Du Chinois and Hollow Roots.