– by Kira Omernik
The Record Store
Thursday March 19
This year at You Are Here, The Record Store was graced by none other than celebrity superstar Liam Payne of One Direction. The catch? He’s in plastic miniature form and is here to explore what it’s like to be famous at the tender age of 20 – or at least that is what seems to be the premise of Paul Jackson’s World of Payne.
Various vintage couches and plastic milk crates surrounded the stage where the audience sat, waiting for the show to begin. The audience looked on curiously as Jackson placed a tiny Liam Payne doll at the centre of the stage. Jackson sat down on the side of the stage as a voiceover of Payne began to speak about the beginnings of One Direction. The music began and continued on as a steady beat, pulsating through to the end. Jackson danced around the doll, slowly building tension with his moves which increased in speed and concentration as the performance progressed.
Payne’s voiceover reflected on his rise to fame, his relationships and his self-perception. He expressed a need for normality and discussed the many trials of youth. The voiceover also addressed his difficulty in maintaining a positive self-image and differentiating between his private and public persona.
Payne is also concerned with how he is portrayed in the media and how the career path he has chosen might be affecting the way other males view him. He also questions the importance of being viewed as masculine, whether this is something that matters to him.
The show was enjoyable but the environment distracting. The dance was held on a small black stage in the corner of a large white room which was also being used as an art gallery. Furthermore, You Are Here staff members were talking and shuffling about. This made for a difficult space in which to really focus on the performance. It would have been more effective if it had been held in a smaller, more intimate space.
This could have affected Jackson’s performance itself. When asked about his reasons for starting World of Payne, he explained that his goal was to hone his skills by experimenting with dance in a controlled and small space. This he achieved, however – the dancing was focused and precise.
His reason for using the Liam Payne doll was less specific but did expose some interesting artistic goals. Jackson explained, when asked by an audience member, that he wanted the doll to be as real a performer as he was: “I didn’t want to move him around like a puppet because then that’s all he would be; I wanted him to be more than that.”
The show fell short of clearly expressing this intention; the performance was ambiguous and left the audience feeling slightly bewildered. But knowing that the goals for this piece were centered on artistic development rather than on storytelling helped me understand it better.
Dance fans, this one’s for you.
(Photo credit: Adam Thomas)
Kira is a coastal export living in Canberra. She writes everything from critical essays to purple poetry and spends most of her time laughing. She currently writes articles for university of Canberra’s Curiuex magazine, as well as writing and singing songs to her dog Hazard. Kira explores all the colourful facets of being in your twenties and faking it till you make it through her blog, articles and notes stuck on her friends walls. You can find her blog here: http://wurdss.weebly.com/1/post/2014/09/the-cheshire-trees.html