La Mama is a haven for the independent artist and Ren Flannery’s new work, Ren pronounced rén in Mandarin and hito in Japanese, meaning human/person), is part of La Mama’s exciting 2014 Celebrating Women Festival.
Devised and performed solo by Flannery, it follows her own story as a white woman living as a minority within ancient cultures, a personal reflection of the migratory experience in a foreign environment, Flannery suggesting we think upon the idea of culture, identity, judgement and acceptance. Unfortunately, some physical work is missed by the back row as it is performed too far downstage, but the majority of the performance is in view and the story is not for the most part lost. Flannery is evidently a very engaged and passionate physical artist and although the language of her body is sometimes hard to interpret, it is certainly evocative. Some clever use of a small camera and projected images creates an endless trail of the performer walking one after the other. Some of her physical work with her ‘infinite selves’ is quite brilliant and the use of shadows throughout that section is stirring; a definite highlight. Thought the short season for Ren has finished, Flannery clearly has art running through her veins, and will hopefully share more work with Melbourne audiences soon.