Perceptual Landscape, presented by the Chinese company Comuna de Pedra (Macao), is an effective amalgamation of physical theatre, lighting, video, photography and sound.
Even as the audience are invited in, Perceptual Landscape starts to break down their preconceptions of illusion and reality, beginning by deconstructing the idea of the performance space. Audience members are lined up on stage, as if there for a school photograph, forcing them to look into the auditorium, where they are confronted by the cameras that will be used later in the performance. In amongst the seating is the solo performer (and director) Jenny Mok, who ignores the audience as she scribbles furiously on a piece of paper, allowing her strokes to spill out onto the stage floor.
There are many strong ideas and striking images such as this throughout Mok’s work. Relatively simple multimedia methods are used extremely effectively, the performer captured in a variety of ways, physically, visually and electronically. However, such devices are fully integrated into the performance, with even the use of strobe lighting—often an overused cliché—arresting and beautiful. The application of video and live photography are similarly successful, Mok using them to explore her central themes of illusion and reality in a visually engaging manner.
Mok puts a great deal of energy into her performance, and it is a well executed piece in almost every way. The ending is particularly compelling: minimal, touching and pleasing. Ultimately, however, although the individual moments often work very well on their own, woven together they do not quite form a convincing whole.
Nevertheless, this remains a memorable and imaginative performance.