Performance review: TRIPTICO, ARA Darling Quarter Theatre, NSW 

A dance theatre celebration of the life and works of Australian artists Elena Kats Chernin and Wendy Sharpe.

Created by Paulina Quinteros and Danza Del Arte, TRIPTICO was an example of collaboration at its best and a celebration of the power of performance. All disciplines and contributors’ works were amplified and taken to the next level as a result of the collective.  

This live performance by a cast of some of Australia’s finest dancers, singers and musicians celebrated the life and works of composer Elena Kats Chernin AO and visual artist Wendy Sharpe AM. 

Framed in draped veils, the stage became the creative backdrop of the projected artworks and brushstrokes of Sharpe’s powerful, vibrant, energetic and humanising artwork. Blank canvases appeared and were brought to life by choreography that was executed perfectly by the dancers. Samantha Leon, Ashlee Wilson, Caitlin Halmarick, Bridget MacAllister, Lauren Brereton and Kai Taberner burst and leapt out of picture frames in highly physical and evocative performances. 

Choreographed by Quinteros, the characters took the audience through emotions of love and loss through their mystic journey, connecting with them with every act. In an inspired piece of choreography the dancers were joined in movement by clarinettist Zachary Donoghue. Elena Kats-Chernin also moved across the stage, becoming a dancer herself. Joining them to complete the musical composition were the operatic talents of Georgia Cooper and Daniel Ott. 

TRIPTICO by Paulina Quinteros
TRIPTICO by Paulina Quinteros

Sharpe joined her fellow performers on stage in a performance and costume that left the audience transfixed as she created an artwork with a dancer; the emotion of the piece was as vivid and powerful as her richly-coloured palette. 

Sharpe and Kats-Chernin have collaborated together in the past, with Sharpe painting the celebrated composer in 2017, The Witching Hour. This striking and powerful artwork was acquired by Australia’s National Portrait Gallery in 2019. Long may these collaborations continue.    

With her artwork projected on stage and on flesh as powerfully as her performance, Sharpe now gets to add actor to her long, acclaimed and impressive resumé. 

Amplifying the beauty, flow and majestic power of the performances, the costume and set design of TRIPTICO was also inspiring and ranged from the simple and classic Greek goddess style stola through to the iconic “work of art” dress worn by Sharpe.

Read: Exhibition review: Halfway, Yarrila Arts and Museum

TRIPTICO received a standing ovation; it was a pity that the season didn’t run long enough. Be sure to get in early if there is a return season. 

Producer: Paulina Quinteros
Artistic Director and Choreographer: Paulina Quinteros
Composer: Elena Kats-Chernin AO
Visual artist: Wendy Sharpe AM
Lighting Designer: Toby Sewell
Video Designer: Rose Mulcare
Set and Costume designer: Liv Hutley
Couturier: Bowie Wong
Technical manager: Angus Denton

TRIPTICO was performed from 15-16 December 2023 at ARA Darling Quarter Theatre.

G has long been a connoisseur of the arts in all colours and flavours of expression. G has a strong admiration for the brilliance and commitment required to produce and showcase art.