Treating Tech Overdose

Dancenorth's Rainbow Vomit returns to Townsville from 17-20 May. Catch it at C2, The Civic Theatre. IMAGE: Supplied

If a production promised you an extravaganza of light and colour, you’d probably expect it to be heavy on the tech. After all, technology doesn’t just play the role of work assistant anymore – but of babysitter, entertainer and hypnotist.

Dancenorth not only recognises society’s tech-addiction, but seeks to undo it (if only a little) in the contemporary wonderland that is Rainbow Vomit. The piece, written and directed by Kyle Page and Amber Haines, is a crowd favourite for children and adults alike.

“One of the main drivers for creating Rainbow Vomit was to create a show that is really low-tech,” said Kyle.

“There’s no fancy projectors and big screens and holograms – what we did is use these very simple devices – fireworks glasses – to create incredibly interesting, captivating elements to the show.

Rainbow Vomit is a psychedelic wonderland for children and adults of all ages. The fireworks glasses diffract light into every colour of the rainbow and the whole stage becomes this really bright, luminescent visual extravaganza. The dancers perform with a number of different lighting elements throughout that part of the show and it’s quite a sensory feast. I think if you’re unfamiliar with contemporary dance, Rainbow Vomit’s a really great entry piece because it’s crafted to be an enjoyable experience for everyone – you don’t need to understand contemporary dance or have an awareness of what contemporary dance is, it’s just a fun show for the whole family,” Kyle said.

The idea for the show was born from a desire to pull children away from screens and back into the real world.

“Amber and I were doing some research into what the rise of various technologies is doing to the brain, especially with the cognitive and neurological development of young people. What the research suggested is that children who are exposed to screen time are less likely to access creativity and the imaginative parts of their brain.

“The idea is when people go home, everyone keeps their glasses and we love the idea of the children playing with their glasses and drawing pictures or getting torches out – so even when they leave the theatre there’s still an opportunity for people to engage with that imaginary creative space.”

Rainbow Vomit’s return to Townsville (after its sold-out premiere season in 2016) follows a Queensland-wide tour of the show; and will be part of a quick stop home before taking the show nationally.

“Townsville has an extraordinarily rich and vibrant cultural community – and I think the most exciting thing about Dancenorth is we can create work here and can very much be a part of the community, then take works that are developed locally out on a global level. We have a great national reputation, amazing touring opportunities in the pipes internationally, and what we do everywhere we go is sing the praises of Townsville and Tropical North Queensland. That fills me with a great deal of pride to know what has been built and created here in this regional location of Australia has a national voice and international platform,” Kyle said.

“It also says a lot about the potential for people from this region when they create extraordinary work – and it may be technological work or advancements in science or engineering – but whatever the case may be, the fact that what happens in regional Australia and Townsville is just as important and just as relevant as anything created or developed in the capital cities is really special.”

Dive in to Dancenorth’s Rainbow Vomit at C2, the Civic Theatre, from May 18-22.

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