Corps Multiple presents a story about the chaos and confusion of the human experience.


By Cy White, Photos by Errich Petersen

Life is a series of bursts and sizzles. A constant whirlpool of kinetic and potential energies that oftentimes collide. When they do, we are left in the wake of the ensuing chaos wondering what the hell happened. Such is the thematic core of Austin-based French arts company Corps Multiple’s Consolation of Chaos.

With choreography by Sandie Donzica and live music by electronic duo Key Hole, Consolation of Chaos pushes the audience to consider creation. What does it mean, and how do we exist in the ever-evolving chaos of “blooming” and becoming?


A white screen. That’s what audience members first experience when the lights finally dim on the VORTEX’s Eloise Brooks Cullum Stage. Juxtaposed against each other are images of dancer Rachael Hanlon as both physical metronome and a visceral representation of birth/creation/the dawn of existence. Life is water is sex is earth and nature. Then suddenly life is happening; Hanlon is thrust into a deep blue emptiness broken up only by the dingy whiteness of a bathtub. Here she explores the idea of confined chaos, a birth culminating in feelings of unfamiliarity in one’s own body. She professes herself an alien. Even speaking with herself in a voice she at once doesn’t recognize but accepts as her own.


When the lights once again go up, we are suddenly thrust upon a kaleidoscopic landscape of movement. Spilling from the solitary dimness, Donzica and dancer Sarah Jack are Hanlon’s internal struggles made manifest. One dancer wears clothes similar to Hanlon’s in her final moments on screen, the other dons more revealing attire, similar to Hanlon’s as she gyrates on-screen in a pantomime of the ecstasy and pain of creation. Donzica and Jack’s movements almost mirror each other. The more clothed manifestation is almost childlike in her mimicry; meanwhile the other shows a maturity in movement. As if to say, “This is what we are when the universe settles within us.”

Sensation & Chaos

The entirety of Donzica and Jack’s performance hinges on the audience tapping into their own sensual selves. They almost dare us to reach deep within ourselves and full-bodily sit in the sensation of being. Of continuing to become and simply exist in the chaos that governs who we are. The entire performance is an exercise in defining the true essence of chaos and how, if we are only meant to experience it, do we gain anything from it? Ultimately, Consolation of Chaos asks, “What does it mean to be human?” As we stare back at ourselves, what do we see? Is the reflection in that glass universe really who we are? Or are we nothing more than the byproduct of circumstances we have no control over?

The show itself is a marvelous rendition of media that came before it. Films that continue to probe the idea of humanity vs. something alien. With nods to films like René Laloux’s La Planète Sauvage and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, Consolation of Chaos attempts, and mostly succeeds, to define existence within the scope of our limited bodies.


It is unfortunate that the show culminates in a deluge of exposition masked as playful banter. An info dump that perhaps thinks itself necessary to the visual narrative, but ultimately ends up breaking the emotional weight and honest vulnerability of the main performers. Perhaps Donzica and Hanlon, as the show’s scriptwriters, thought without some form of overt guidance the audience wouldn’t understand. However, more than anything, this comes off as, at best, the creators’ lack of narrative backbone, at worst, an arrogant belief that their work is so elevated an audience has to be spoon-fed the message.

Beyond the imagined need to bolster the work with vocal input, Consolation of Chaos is an immersive experience. Perhaps ultimately the solace chaos gives us is the knowledge that in the end when the illusion of control falls away, we are still left with the ability to love, feel and live. Perhaps life is the consolation prize.



Leave A Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial