Double Derelicts - White Face Crew
9 October 2014, Tempo Dance Festival, Auckland
Reviewed by Jenny Stevenson
The three multi-talented performers of White Face Crew: Justin Haiu, Tupua Tigafua and Jarod Rawiri draw from the arts of comedy, mime and dance to create their uplifting parable about the power of love. Double Derelicts is a celebration of the spirit of friendship and kindness existing among those in our society who are marginalised - and the message rings true in spite of all the hyperbole and laughter.
All three artists have an innate understanding of illusion and fantasy, so that the world they create is one where a scrappy piece of newspaper can transform into whatever they want it to be, to fit the purpose of the story and the characters being portrayed. Like all fairy-tales there is a willing suspension of belief on the part of the audience who are complicit in the many flights of fancy of this whimsical tale.
The tired old cliché of “comic-timing” is essential to the success of the work and these disciplined performers never miss a beat in this regard. Some of the more choreographed sections rely on fast, split-second timing of movement to create the visual gags that are a feature of the work. These are accomplished with an ease of execution and obvious enjoyment that belies the complexity of the composition.
What begins as a dispute of ownership over a scruffy giveaway couch segues into companionship and ultimately courtship between two down-and-outers: a feisty woman played by Haiu and a doe-eyed gentleman played by Tigafua. An interloper played by Rawiri strays into their domain and illustrates the pain of his paternal abandonment as a child, by means of a weeping umbrella and a poignant re-enactment of his loss. He is every bit as marginalised in his grief as the two vagrants and the three discover common ground – the duets now becoming trios.
The story is manipulated into the essential ‘happy ending’ with undertones of sentiment, romance and familial reunions creating the feel-good factor.