Maybe Laby Fugue toys with our eyes and ears. Sometimes I’m distracted, as an internal combat decides who I should watch, but once I become familiar with the disassociation, I’m watching a beautiful dance piece and listening to the narrator. At first, I wish I couldn’t see where the voices were coming from because the bodies and voices do compete for our attention. As the voices become more involved and start to provide physical action however, I start to understand why they’re amongst the audience. The physical separation between the voices and bodies represents their fugue: the voices and bodies are no longer sure who they are, where they are, or even why they are there.
Costumes help the performance’s continuity. Ward and Doohan dress in seafoam and scarlet, the same colours their voices, Raphael and Brown, wear. Jensen’s costuming doesn’t clarify his character or purpose until later in the story, and while I now understand who he is and why he is there, Maybe Laby Fugue could do more to feature this in the show itself.
Ward, Doohan, and Jensen move like they’re water—a delicate balance between gentle streams and rushing torrents. Even from such a distance, the amount of detail I can see in their movements astonishes me, from Doohan’s flowing leg extensions to Ward’s gentle trickle of hands at the glass. The movements enact the dialogue as it happens, like when the two voices swap shoes, as Brown’s shoes look to fit Raphael’s better and vice versa. There’s zero delay and to watch the story unfold from a distance and hear that same story up-close, it makes a statement about how we communicate with not just one another, but with the different parts of ourselves.
Maybe Laby Fugue takes our sight and hearing, jumbles them together, then rips them apart to create an engaging visual/aural performance. Running until Saturday 4 March, you can catch it up at Victoria University on Fairlie Terrace. It’s koha and requires no booking—here’s their Facebook page if you’d like to read more.