embrace: GUILT FRAME


...in its powerful exploration of the mystery and motivation of our moods and emotions, this performance is as riveting as any action movie, and a lot more satisfying.

Martin Bell, The Age

created and performed by Tess de Quincey and Peter Snow
set design
Russell Emerson and Steve Howarth
lighting design
Travis Hodgson
sound design
Michael Toisuta

A woman and a man, time and change.

With absolute simplicity, two performers create a living portrait that illuminates the shape and rhythms of our inner life.

Drawing together work from three continents – Japan, India and Australia – dancer/choreographer Tess de Quincey and actor Peter Snow negotiate the eight states of human emotion, as outlines in The Natyasastra – the cornerstone of artistic practice in India.

The performers invite the audience to a discussion after the performance.

…the 40-minute journey is as mesmerising as it is inexplicably profound. …the work is elegant, simple, complex, profound, stark, elsuive – yet never daunting. It is wonderfully easy to watch and very effecting. …a wonderful journey of shared discovery. Australian Stage – James Waites, March 2008.

For a captivating and intensely intimate hour, two performers are literally ‘framed’ as they create a fascinating living portrait, playing out various heightened states of emotion. Drawing on The Natyasastra, the ancient Indian treatise on artistic practice, the production is part of De Quincey Co’s ongoing ‘embrace’ exchange between international artists, exploring eastern and western performance vocabular ies. Integral to the piece is Michael Toisuta’s evocative Homage to Ligeti which takes its inspiration from Gyorgi Ligeti’s Poeme Symphonique for 100 Metronomes.








Having worked extensively in Europe, Japan, India and Australia, Tess de Quincey is one of the country’s most admired, maverick choreographer/performers. For several years she was a dancer with Min Tanaka and his Mai-Juku Performance Company in Japan and later introduced the Bodyweather performance philosophy to Australia, forming De Quincey Co in 2000. Most recently her company wowed audiences with site-specific event The Stirring at the Carriageworks in November 2007. Peter Snow is a theatre-maker, director, performer and academic with a background in both text-based and new work. He has helped to create over 40 professional productions in Australia and overseas.


embrace: GUILT FRAME performs the transcendental… one of those rare performances that should remind audiences and practitioners alike why they were first attracted to the theatre. Tony Reck

…together they are mesmerising. The Australian – Deborah Jones, February 2008

engaging theatre… Time loses relevance as the deliberate rhythm of the piece takes shape. Artshub, Paul Knox

The two faces in front of you, scarcely moving, are plunging through a sea of emotions… drawing you into an intense 40 minutes of observation and response… It is something to see – and feel. The Sydney Morning Herald – Jill Sykes, February 2008.


Reviews (PDF)

2008 (Sydney)

Real Time 84 – May 08 (preview)
The Australian Stage – 7 March, 08
The Australian – March 08
Sydney Morning Herald – 29 Feb 08
Real Time 84 – May 08

2009 (Melbourne)

La Mama Theatre, Melbourne 2-13 December, 2009
The Age – 5 Dec 09
Tony Reck – 4 Dec 09
Arts Hub – 3 Dec 09

Previous Season Details

Sydney Theatre Company

Wharf2loud Season
27 February – 9 March, 2008
Guilt Frame STC Poster (PDF)

embrace: GUILT FRAME was originally co-produced by Sydney Theatre Company and De Quincey Co and presented at Sydney Theatre 27 February to 9 March 2008. It was the opening production of the 2008 Wharf 2LOUD program, the first programming venture of Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton as new Artistic Directors of Sydney Theatre Company with a desire to unravel theatrical expectations.

Blanchett and Upton said: We’re thrilled De Quincey Co launch this year’s Wharf 2LOUD program. We want to challenge what we all think we know about theatre. Innovative artists with different approaches to performance will make Wharf 2LOUD a bold program full of intrigue and possibility for regular and new audiences.

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