1984’s After Venice was a definitive work for Sydney Dance Company. Inspired by Thomas Mann’s novella Death In Venice, artistic director and choreographer Graeme Murphy brought together an enviable team, including costume and set designer Kristian Fredrikson, legendary dancer Garth Welch and up-and-comer Paul Mercurio.
Shane Carroll, who danced the role of Love in After Venice, reflects on the creation process.
“Graeme Murphy’s works were from another planet. It was really interesting to see him create, because everything about it was brave and everything about it was careful at the same time. I’d seen the Visconti film, which just is a masterpiece, and read the Thomas Mann book, and thought it was fascinating to tackle such a seminal piece of writing and movie-making.
After Venice takes you on a journey of life and death and what living means. Living with intent, living with intensity.
Of course, Kristian Fredrikson was a genius; the way he would lay down a story and populate it with visuals and socio-cultural idiosyncratic elements. He could make something very beautiful and real, but work with very abstract forms as well.
‘After Venice’. Photo by Don McMurdo
In After Venice we were moving these massive walls around, which they enabled characters to sort of appear and disappear. We used to call them the Weet Bix.
And then there was the beautiful performance by Garth Welch as Aschenbach the Ageing Artist. Garth has this capacity to stand on stage and not move, but totally own the space and be a hundred percent compelling. All the loaded gazes between the characters, especially between Aschenbach and Tadzio, made for a very subliminal work.”
Garth Welch as Aschenbach and Paul Mercurio as Tadzio in Graeme Murphy’s ‘After Venice’. Photo by Branco Gaica.
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