[Live Review] Maximum


Creator Natalie Abbot describes her performance of Indie project Maximum as
A work intended to warp expectations and push the understanding of choreography and performance.”

Designed to demonstrate how endurance, training and exhausting physical exertion the performance piece basically consists of Natalie and her chosen Body Builder Nathan running around a room for the better part of an hour. They change it up with running backwards and diagonal grunting resembling more of a work out than an actual performance. The studio lights are almost blinding as the two run around working up a sweat.

The final twenty minuets or so of the piece consists of Nathan lifting Natalie, as their bodies become exhausted the lifts become more difficult, Natalie falling on several occasions. Failure is part of the piece and this is meant to be all part of the experience of how endurance effects us.

It can be said that for a true artist creating is a part of the soul and a way for expression to allow us to not only communicate to the world but for people to enjoy and be moved by it. There is a part of creating something from nothing that other people can enjoy that is selfless in some ways.

For an artist we create to share our stories but also to leave our viewers with something to talk about. We create because we must, to create art and in turn create happiness nourishes our very souls. That something that we create does not always have to be good, the art that is shared can evoke negative emotions as long as it gives something. Art teaches, informs, explains, entertains and reaches into our hearts to touch our souls in some way. People that are not artists usually don’t understand that there are two camps in the art world : the naturally gifted and the forcibly trying.

The whole apparent point of this piece is for Natalie to explore her own endurance seems rather indulgent and little self absorbed. It doesn’t seem to come from a place of wanting to make the viewer happy or touch anyone’s souls. It could be said that it is educating, but then it is educating Natalie not really the viewers, so can it be classed as art?
The question ” What is going on?” seems to hang in the air unanswered among the viewers.

The performance gives little back to the viewer other than a sense of confusion, possibly annoyance and from what I observed a little boredom. Pieces like this that are labelled Indie are such because there is really no other way of explaining them. I believe this should be named a “Social Commentary” as it did evoke a lot of conversation afterwards. Perhaps that was the point of it, I am not really sure.

In a way perhaps evoking conversation was the whole point. However to sit for the better part of an hour watching someone run around a room is not my idea of art and not my idea of enjoyment. In my opinion this kind of creation stems from someone who is not born with the sole need to create but instead with the expressed purpose to indulge in a world they desperately long to be invited into but lack any talent to do so and end up missing the point of why we as artists create.

All I saw this evening was an example of that, someone creating for self indulgent reasons. There are those that create because they must and those that create because they want the accolades and prestige that supposedly comes with being an artist. I feel this performance came from the latter and not the former and is more someone having an existential crisis that they were not born an artist. It was not enjoyable, entertaining or even remotely interesting which was a let down as a viewer. One would think the point of a performance is to entertain, otherwise exactly what is the point of being on stage. To simply run around a room in a circle, was not an enjoyable experience for me as a viewer. It was boring and lacked any amount of credibility, making me wish I had the hour back.

If I was to write a review based on what the CONCEPT of the piece is then I am sure that I would be able to elaborate on the ” unique talent”  of the artist. However, this is not a review about a concept- any one can write a concept and spin it a number of ways to make it sound  good, and an actual performance should not always be judgement of a concept. If I had not read the program then I would have no idea what this piece is all about. So my review is based on what I saw in front of my eyes : A girl running around a room for an hour.

If the whole point of this performance was to evoke conversation then in the very least it was successful in that respect. If the point was to create an enjoyable piece  that I was glad to watch then in that respect it failed miserably.



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