Chases Scenes is exactly what it says. It is a list show composed of 60 separate examples of chase scene tropes from film and television, all approximately just under a minute long. Purely chase scenes.
Using projected live video feed and breakneck speed costume changes and props, SO many props, Ming Hon, along with the all-female ensemble, reiterate famous clichés about the portrayal of those who are chased and relentlessly plays the images and narratives of the pursuit back to the audience.
“Live video feed and breakneck speed costume changes”
After chase # 28, the audience is reminded of the inherent gender bias of the chase scene, when we are shown a brief sequence of male-centred chase scenes. What we see is a Matt Damon – Tom Cruise – Dwayne Johnson – Keanu Reeves maelstrom of athleticism and composure under pressure, whereas the presentation of non-male (and specifically female) chase scenes in media fixate on the suffering of the victim. After the male chase scene, which becomes synonymous with the action sequence, the subsequent female chase scenes weave cleverly together to create the effect of a feedback loop of the fetishized scream of the victim in pursuit which has become a normalised trope in Hollywood.
One complaint I have, however, is that Ming Hon’s work doesn’t go much further than skin deep on the issue. We are reminded that this gendered presentation of the chase exists, and I found myself hoping as we neared chase number 50 that Ming Hon and her ensemble would offer us something new – a deeper unpacking of the issue, or a darker twist into the repercussions of normalising these narratives, but unfortunately, it never arrived. This was probably Ming Hon’s intention not to satisfy or neatly tie the issue up, however, it did leave me slightly underwhelmed.
Visually, the show was slightly messy as there was little precision or nuance to the camera work or in the staging of the differing chase scenes, and the show opens with most of the props on stage which just get slightly more scattered as the play goes on. In this sense, I feel like Ming Hon’s work slightly missed a trick in terms of the piece’s representation of the cinematic clichés.
Chase Scenes will be performing at CanadaHub King’ Hall from 14th-19th and 21st-26th, tickets can be purchased here.
Image: Ming Hon
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