The sound makes the meaning: A review of Two Destination Language’s show “Fault Lines”

13 06 2022

Fault Lines Photo Beth Chalmers

Fault Lines uses the format of a fashion show to explore multi-layered aspects of women’s lived experience, of struggles and successes, and of femininity expressed through and mandated by beauty ideals. While loud dance beats fill the auditorium as visitors trickle in and find their seats in the two rows of chairs lined up alongside the catwalk, the speakers go silent once the performance itself starts. The silence, however, is only temporary as each audience member puts on a pair of headphones and tunes in to one of five soundtracks created for the performance. Everyone can decide for themselves which track to listen to and whether to listen to one of them from start to finish or zap through the different channels throughout the performance.

The audience can change their subjective experience of the performances through the choice of channels, creating a personalised journey through the production. The playlist of classical pieces, of “Rebels” songs, of “Pleasures” (all written by women composers) or one of the two narrative pieces, either on the dominance of the English language or of the actors’ sharing personal thoughts and anecdotes: these all cast a different perspective over the performers’ movements.

In the simplest terms, the show’s exploration of what constitutes shared female experience becomes either a contemplation of its complexity, a feminist celebration of its power, a seductive spectacle, a critical analysis of global inequality, or a personal acquainting with the five women on stage. Through the ability to switch between these tracks and layers of meaning “Fault Lines” is able to recreate the simultaneous existence of all these dimensions, as inexplicable, confusing, and wonderful as they are in life.

Luisa Hahn