The relatively new cross-disciplinary company House of Sand, helmed by the brother and sister team of Charles and Eliza Sanders, is looking forward to delivering four shows across a spectrum of performance in 2018.
Since coming together in 2015 to form House of Sand, Charles and Eliza have collaborated on a variety of works as co-artistic directors of the company. 2018 will see a mix of original and adapted work from the company.
Rather than being a purely theatre- or dance-focussed performance company, House of Sand is a blend of the two, Charles tells The Adelaide Review.
“We have a shared language and understanding having trained in a lot of the same techniques,” he says. “There’s a shared language, but when we’re creating work there’s a sense that some works are mostly dance and others are mostly theatre and some are straight down the line, which we call contemporary performance.”
That term, ‘contemporary performance’, is one that has less clout in Australia than overseas says Charles, but is growing in popularity overseas as artists cross-disciplinary work becomes more popular.
“It’s basically any kind of performative thing that doesn’t fit into a neat box, you know.”
The first two cabs off the rank for House of Sand are in this vein. Pedal and Castles are two cross-disciplinary works developed by Eliza that will perform throughout the Fringe at the Holden Street Theatres. They’re hard to nail down genre-wise, says Charles, but audiences should expect work along the lines of cabaret performance, where song, dance and spoken word come together, though using a wider field of performance modes and themes.
“They’re absurd little theatrical adventures,” says Charles. “Pedal mulls over ideas of transience. It was created while Eliza was in the first year out of dance school and is about finding a sense of home among homelessness. Castles is an answer to that, having come home to a physical place and cogitating, thinking about how we build our ‘castles’, whether we build them with people or bricks.”
Next up is Welcome to the Bright World, a more theatrical piece produced in association with the State Theatre Company of South Australia thanks to their Umbrella program. Originally written by Stephen Sewell in 1982 and reworked by the author for the present day, Welcome to the Bright World is set in 1980s Berlin and examines themes of surveillance and geo-political tension.
Charles says he was shocked at the play’s present-day relevance when he first read it, and had the opportunity to work with Sewell himself on the play, having studied under him at NIDA.
“I was astounded,” he says. “It is truly pre-monitory. I almost couldn’t believe it was written in 1982 when I was reading it during the rise of Trump and this insane reliance on identity politics on the left.”
Eliza Sanders in Pedal
Rounding out House of Sand’s 2018 season is Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. which will play as part of the Feast Festival in November. Written by British author Alice Birch, Revolt tackles the complexities of feminism in the present age in hilarious fashion.
“Bright World has its moments of humour, but Revolt is hysterically funny,” says Charles. “It’s a series of vignettes scenes where a woman or women completely invert some element of the patriarchal structure to hilarious but also very moving effect.”
While audiences might expect this to be a purely feminist play, Charles says Revolt has criticism for potentially ineffectual modes of feminism as well as the patriarchy.
“I suppose it’s asking whether friendly girl-power third-wave feminism has really been of much benefit to the cause,” he says. “It tries to pick apart the flaws and hypocrisies of the patriarchy, but also some of the flaws and hypocrisies in second and third feminism. It looks towards a post-feminist future.”
Pedal & Castles
Holden Street Theatres
February 28 until March 17
Tickets to be available through FringeTix
Welcome to the Bright World
September 20 until October 6
Tickets available via BASS
Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.
Holden Street Theatre – The Studio
Tickets to be available via Feast
Header image: Promotional image for Welcome to the Bright World