La Boite Indie & The Nest Ensemble
18th July – 28th July 2012
I just wanted to write and let you know how much I enjoyed the show last night. What a beautiful, beautiful gift you have given us. Thank you for sharing it with us. I know, it’s funny; usually I would simply post a review online but I decided to write you a letter, since I never wrote my letter to a random stranger after the last La Boite Indie production (it was Sarah Winter’s A Dinner with Gravity… did you get to it?). Also, it seemed a more personal response to suit the nature of such an intimate show. You don’t have to reply, by the way, but if you’d like to play – and I know that you like to play – I expect I’ll be hearing from you soon!
The most remarkable thing about HOME is that it is all you. We see Leah’s insightful eye, her light hand and her loving heart here and there and we acknowledge that Trav’s multiple roles are implicitly part of the many tales you tell (how talented they both are!) but the fact remains: every piece of this show is you. How proud you must be. I have to tell you, I haven’t known you very long and we’ve never had the chance to work together (though I think we must!), yet the strange thing is I feel like we’ve known each other for a million years…well, at least thirty! It might have been in another life altogether because I think I know these stories. You were right. Your story is my story. Your stories are so familiar and yet… so unfamiliar. They happened and they didn’t happen. I remember and I don’t remember.
I remember sitting each afternoon, after school, with books and pencils spread out on the green laminate kitchen bench, threatening to take over Mum’s cooking space. Our kitchen always smelled of baking. She’d butter some Saladas and slice the cake she’d baked that day (chocolate cake or orange cake or – my favourite – plain butter cake) and I’d do my homework there, chatting about the day over afternoon tea and books and pencils. I told her the other day that Poppy does her homework at the kitchen bench while I bake and prepare the dinner. She doesn’t remember these afternoons, talking together like old friends. I remember.
I remember sitting up in Grandma and Grandpa’s bed, underneath piles of blankets before breakfast, with a proper cup of tea and a biccy – an Arnott’s break-a-finger biscuit – on the cold mornings when we would wake up there, during a visit to Toowoomba to see the relatives. I was little, maybe six, Poppy’s age. I could always smell Grandma’s stew cooking. I love Grandma’s stew. I used to write her letters. Real letters, hand written and with real photos and pressed flowers enclosed. She was so proud of me. She had a fall and was admitted to hospital on Wednesday night. I have Monday free to go visit her. I haven’t seen her for years. She probably won’t remember our mornings, with Roger the cat sitting at our feet. I remember.
I remember running wildly in the rain along Mooloolaba beach with my best friend, her bleached blonde hair streaming behind her as I sprinted past her and back again (I was really fast!), strands of her wet hair beginning to cling to her shoulders so she looked like a mermaid who’d just emerged from the water. She always looked like a mermaid. I always wanted to be a mermaid too. We ran and laughed and stumbled until we fell over each other and collapsed in the sand, in absolute hysterics, gasping for breath. I see my mermaid friend sometimes; a vision dancing in the water but I’m sure she’s actually overseas again, working. She might not remember these crazy days. I remember.
HOME helps us remember. I remember and I don’t remember. At HOME, we are your special guests. Thank you for inviting us to share your stories, your memories and those of other people’s. When you enter the space everybody feels welcome. Your warmth is infectious and your joy contagious. Your delight is genuine and you are having as much fun as anybody else. Do you know what HOME is? It’s a tea ceremony. A very special, casual and surprisingly upbeat tea ceremony.
I love the way you embrace the audience. Leading them. Guiding them. Involving them. Sharing your applause with them. I’ve never heard such long, warm, appreciative applause! But you are so very generous and applause is our way of giving something back.
I ate up your original telling of the Isis and Osirus myth and then the throwbacks to it. The telling of it drew us in. You are a superb storyteller. The eating of words is such a simple, strange notion. You served up a great big, sumptuous feast of words – a degustation – story after story, in small amounts but giving us so many delectable dishes to sample. I’m full! I feel completely satiated.
Bev’s design is beautiful, her hand-carved Perspex set pieces and props lend a delicate, impermanent air, adding to the feeling that this is precious time, to be treasured. I think visitors to your HOME will be reminded that our time is, indeed, that precious. Perhaps they’ll start asking to hear the stories that are part of who they have become. We get so busy we forget to ask! We do something else instead of really listen! We are too busy. Who will tell the story?
Ben’s lighting is simply gorgeous, perfectly supporting the changes in mood rather than interrupting or distracting from your stories. He’s created sunrises and sunsets, the dawns and dusks of each tale. I’m glad there’s no real darkness in your show. Sometimes we need to forget the darkness and simply be reminded of the scope of the light.
I love the quotes you’ve woven throughout the show, visually and aurally; I love the singing bowl and Trav’s wide range of skills, especially his delivery of other people’s stories, used in such a way as to make us sit up and listen, refocus and remember how lucky we are, here in our home country. Here, home is whatever we desire it to be.
A little while ago (and again last night), you told me thank you for doing exactly what you have done yourself. Thank you for waking us up. Thank you, Margi, for your very special gift to us. Thank you for having us, for letting us in and sharing your HOME.
P.S. You can eat the chocolates…