Hold Me Closer Tony Danza by Gold Coast based dance company The Farm challenges the audience to a dance off in an unorthodox dance theatre experience.
Described as deeply seductive but with a satirical edge, the show confronts our modern life information overload, asking how can we still connect with each other when we feel so far apart.
Director Gavin Webber said Hold Me Closer Tony Danza encapsulates how we form meaning, and how our understanding of the world is often intrinsically flawed.
“One simple misunderstanding can start a whole chain of events that leads you into totally misunderstanding each other,” Webber said.
“There is a sense also, there’s a very strong social commentary on how we’re such a divided society now. It’s a very strong thing for all of us at The Farm.
“There’s a massive difference in our lived experiences and within the artists who run The Farm, there’s a real sense of despite all our differences, we’re very cohesive and we all really get along.
“We’re a company that are driven by four artists across four decades of ages. We don’t have to let our differences explode into hatred and shaming. That’s really driving us.”
The show has evolved from its first iteration pre-pandemic to become a fully immersive dance work which asks the audience to select a side, and get ready for a dance off.
“It’s so nice to have Kate (Harman) and Michael (Smith) back together again…both of them are very emotional and powerful performers that radiate. You can feel it. You feel both of them very strongly when you watch them dance,” Webber said.
“The whole piece is built around the idea of how we try to connect, yet we misunderstand each other so easily.
“This striving and this desire to connect to someone beyond all of our, I guess our mental clutter that we have.
“There’s a lot of pop cultural references, because we feel like a lot of things that influence us, we don’t even notice half the time. It’s like subliminal messaging and we’re constantly playing with this idea of confusion and excess that we have in our lives.”
He said they’ve removed all of the seating from performance space at the Metro Arts new Benner Theatre in the West Village Precinct, to give more room for the show to evolve and involve the audience in the proceedings.
“Because the connection that they are trying to maintain or trying to find between them, despite all this clutter, is exactly what we’re trying to achieve with an audience,” he said.
“We decided to take away all those barriers and put us all in one big room together, so we’ve taken the seating banks out, so that we’re all in the one big space.
“It’s got a very ’90s club feel at times in it, as well. There’s this sense I think when you enter, you are going into a completely immersed world where you’re a part of the performance.
“We cater to everyone, because we know that some people are like, “No, no. I do not want to have to do anything.” And other people are like, “Yeah, count me in.” We’re catering for both types.”
Having Elton John on tour in Brisbane at the same time has brought an extra edge to the performance.
“We’re really excited because Elton John’s in town at the same time as us and part of us making this work was us all falling in love with Elton John,” he said.
“Just falling in love with this song, Hold Me Closer Tony Danza (Tiny Dancer). We’re really pumped and we’re hoping Elton’s going to come to the show.
“We’re going to send him the card. I mean, you never know. You never know.”
The Farm is a dance company run by artists which aims to connect with everyone from dance aficionados to theatre virgins and professionals, by taking meaningful and entertaining dance to non-dance audiences in non-traditional spaces.
Webber said this show was the culmination of many years of creativity at the Gold Coast that came from the Commonwealth Games injection of energy and funding into the local arts scene at the Gold Coast.
“It’s been a long genesis because we landed here in 2013 and a bunch of some of the other resident companies also started at the same time,” he said.
“It really did start a whole momentum of arts and culture on the Gold Coast and yeah, it’s been a really crazy and wild ride. It’s been awesome, we’ve loved every minute of it. It’s not a bad place to live and work.”
Hold Me Closer Tony Danza is on at Metro Arts new Banner Theatre from January 24 to January 28.