An absurd spectacle carried off with extreme physicality at close proximity, Whelping Box is a feat of endurance, playful rituals, idiosyncratic mythmaking, glorified acts of machismo and power games.
Feeding on the energy of the audience through a series of tasks that form a darkly entertaining attempt to transcend the confines of normality, two performers chain themselves to stakes, test their limits and strip themselves of civility.
What starts out as an engaging and light-hearted interaction, crosses the line into psychologically darker territory that creates a voyeuristic sense of unease and danger.
But always sitting alongside the primal aggression is a connectedness of male-bonding and an underlying sense of trust, that the games portrayed in Whelping Box are merely playful and humourous acts.
Nothing escapes the eye as the audience is seated around the action inside a 9m x 9m wooden arena. Whelping Box tests the body, performer and spectator – it is a place of unsettling permissions, a breeding ground for wild things, dogs and gods.
The Whelping Box collaborators – Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters), Matt Prest and Clare Britton – explain that self-mythology pervades contemporary society in the way people construct images of themselves and act out their dreams and ideals.
“Our interest is in how mythologies strengthen and make us powerful in a complex world fragmented by religion, moral codes and questionable ethics.”
“The performers in Whelping Box pursue this concept in two directions: firstly as aspirational, seeking a higher form, that of the god or hero; and secondly as degenerative, regressing to the animal, our base desires.”
Fearlessly exploring concepts of power that lies in places of powerlessness, Whelping Box boldly blurs the line between theatre, dance and performance art.
Co-Creators: Clare Britton, Matt Prest, Lee Wilson, Mirabelle Wouters Sound Design: Jack Prest
Arts House, Meat Market – 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Season: 4 – 8 September 2013
Bookings: (03) 9322 3713 or online at: www.artshouse.com.au
For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.
Image: by Heidron Lohr