The Country

FAST Festival

The Country

SUDS, Sydney University

The Loft, QUT Kelvin Grove

07.09.12 & 09.09.12

Reviewed by Emilie Guillemain 

“The more you talk, the less you say.”

The Country FAST Festival

The Country is a haunting and tense performance that taps into the feelings associated with isolation and distance. From the moment you enter the theatre, there is a sense of darkness and mystery. The stage is outlined by intricate branches and dead leaves spread along the floor; the air is silent, the lighting dim.

As the audience settles in, the subtle lighting fades slowly and a piercing sound fills the theatre space. The aggressiveness of this sound commands immediate attention, the lights return and we’re faced with a man and a woman standing rigid in a small living room.

Corrine and Richard have moved from the city to the country in hopes of having a fresh start. But on this particular evening, their idea of paradise begins to crack as Richard returns home with a young woman he finds unconscious on a country road.

The Country presents a sharp script that shifts between a slow and fast-paced rhythm throughout the performance. The script is a play-on-words and discusses themes of language, repetition, and miscommunication. Tension runs thick between the characters and consumes the audience as they sit perfectly still for the duration of the play.

A sense of time and place is a loose concept and is left up to audience interpretation. There is no clear message as to where Corrine and Richard actually live, how long they’ve lived there, or where they’ve come from. This mystery stretches into character personality where we’re only able to scratch the surface of understanding who they really are.

When the young girl eventually wakes, her conversations with Corrine and Richard (which occur separately) are acute and daring. You can physically feel Rebecca playing with fire as she delivers her words so eloquently but with a sharp tongue. She is confident and provocative in her movement; at one point kneeling on a chair, facing away from Richard she looks over her shoulder at him with lowered eyes. Referring to Corrine, Rebecca utters, “She’d thought I’d given you a sign.”

The Country reflects simplicity and complexity and the way in which both can occur simultaneously. The costumes, stage setting, characters, and the notion of time and place aren’t overlain with detail, but as a result create a heightened sense of complexity within the play. Above all, this is evident in the script and the way each character communicates with each other. The language is short, sharp, seemingly simple; but the messages behind the words are invariably complex and confused.

A play that grabs you and maintains its firm grip throughout the performance, The Country is a striking and thought-provoking story that will leave the distinct taste of curiosity on your tongue.

The Country FAST Festival

Read Emilie’s interview with Director, Brenden Hooke


2 Responses to “The Country”

  1. 1 Samuel B
    September 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    The Country was fantastic, I wish more people could have seen it. Every aspect was just perfect (would have liked a bit more music, but it worked perfectly for what was there) and the script was incredible. The actors were phenomenal too – the girl who played Rebecca had such beautiful and lively eyes which practically told a story themselves.


    • 2 Emilie
      September 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      The actors were something else entirely. They performed with such conviction and had me from the get-go. If you haven’t had a read of the interview with the director, Brenden – definitely take a squiz. It was really interesting getting some insight into the creative process : )

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