The composition is based on the art of Gottfried Helnwein. Apparently the art is composed mostly of large, photograph-like portraits (we ran out of time, and so didn't yet see the exhibit itself).
Anguish and misery seem to be the predominant emotions. There is also a martial aspect to some of the Dancers: some wore a kind of abstract uniform (looked vaguely naval). Initially, they wore bandages over their eyes. The limited vision they experienced could alternately be interpreted as illness or blindness: they indicated deep, but non-specific pain. Their pantomime suggested that their inner selves, the cores of their being, were external to their bodies (probably the source of their anguish).
Yet, after a while, there was a kind of recovery, which first started with removal of the bandages. A gorgeous display of two girls in a big wheat field appeared on a screen behind the dancers, and the anguish ebbed. But at the end, the wheat field vanished and the bandages returned.
Given the intense, internal nature of the emotions being expressed, it was odd that what kept returning to mind was a very specific landscape I remember from Australia in 2006. The Warrego Highway heads west across the Darling Downs, parallel to a railroad. Far to the west of the towns of Dalby and Chinchilla, the view is monotonous along the road and the railroad, and punctuated only by the curious singularities of isolated, three-pear cacti in the no-man's-land strip between the two thoroughfares.
The Darling Downs is huge. It's an agricultural area, but in 2006, the most brutal drought year in centuries, instead of its usual Wichita-Kansas-like rainfall, it received more like Yuma-Arizona-like rainfall: not consistent at all with successful farming. Even though I was there in late spring, there was very little new growth. Life was either threatened, battered, or gone altogether.
Cacti are American plants: they are not native to Australia, and so the only apparent reason the three-pear cacti remained in this hard and now-empty land was that they were aliens. Strangers. Isolated, singular aliens in a landscape of anguish and pain. Much like the dancers of "Silent Noise".
Yet the image of the wheat field conjured up new life: or was it old life? Was this the Darling Downs of the past, or of the future? In the end, it appeared to be cyclic. Cyclic. Reminiscent of Ecclesiastes! Both past and future.
"White Noise" will be on CORE's program again in the presentation "Awake My Soul" at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center, April 21-23, 2011. More info at their Web Site.
I was trying to find pictures of that Warrego Highway adjacent to the railroad. The trouble is that people tend not to take photos of excruciatingly-tedious views. I certainly didn't waste any time on it when I was there, although the view put me in a certain mood. Here is the closest I've found yet.
Afterwards, I asked the dancers "who was that girl who was dancing between the two lines of slow-marching people?" They answered "oh, that was Anne" (meaning Anne David). I said, "no, not Anne, I know what she looks like, but the other one." No one seemed to have any idea what I was talking about. In any event, whoever she was, she had great expression. Anne did too, for that matter, and Andrew Hopper too. It was fun seeing Blair Cacanando in an unfamiliar way; not as the lead, but strictly as part of the ensemble.