“We’ll all need another spin.”
Reviewer: Casidhe Ng
Performance: 18 September 2015
First showcased to the public earlier this year, Bunny is the product of a 2-week collaborative process involving Daniel Kok and Luke George, arranged by the Campbelltown Arts Centre. By exploring the dynamics between the ‘rigger’, the person tying, and the ‘bunny’, the person being tied, the piece aims to involve the audience in the complex power play of bondage — an aspect they manage with relative success. Yet, the concept of involving the audience firsthand in the rope-tying experience inevitably brings up several issues: the tolerance of the audience member, the time taken to tie the ropes, and by extension, how far they can go with their exploration.
For the most part, two of the three issues are dealt with well. Kok and George constantly ensure that the audience members involved do not experience any discomfort, and they gauge their exploration with similar sensitivity. Unfortunately, it is the time taken to tie those ropes that lets the piece down. Whilst it’s intriguing to see an audience member being tied up, the novelty quickly wears off. Themes of sexual politics and power are similarly lacking as emphasis is placed on the striking stage pictures instead. The ropes and objects appear to be used for their aesthetic value as opposed to embodying the aforementioned ideas. The piece is thus besieged with patches of emptiness, and the payoff doesn’t quite offset the wait.
The set and prop designs are stunning, with everyday objects (a kettle, a vacuum cleaner) being tied entirely with colored rope, providing a surreal touch to the shared space between the spectators and performers. At one point, as George is tying up another audience member, Kok begins a sequence of movements on his own, shifting and contorting as he travels the space in an unrestrained fashion. These fleeting moments of beauty, amid the loud music and neon rope, paired with the chemistry shared by Kok and George are easily the best parts of Bunny.
All that said, Bunny remains a daring, unusual and uninhibited piece of work, if occasionally confounding. Whilst I had hoped for a more meaningful use of the objects involved, I commend Kok and George’s courage to take such a huge step into audience interaction. Performances that use the audience as the focal point —the medium that embodies its concept as opposed to just a secondary element — should deserve more promotion and praise.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
BUNNY by Daniel Kok and Luke George
18 – 19 September 2015,
The Substation Theatre
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Casidhe Ng is currently majoring in Theatre and Literature at School of the Arts, Singapore.