Posts Tagged ‘diane cilento studio

05
Aug
15

Opening Night Style at The Greenhouse: Grounded

 

Grounded_libbymunro

 

Opening night style at The Greenhouse Diane Cilento Studio: Grounded

 

A comparatively casual opening night affair (we’d dressed up for La Boite’s 90th birthday ball the night before), for some Grounded meant jeans and sweaters and jackets. Still in party mode, I took out the “Noosa Festival Red” stretchy Kookai number and Sachi sandals for the theatre, and later – it got cold at Greystone – my little Red Riding Hood cloak cum coat dress, which I picked up at Woodford Folk Festival a couple of years ago.

 

Grounded has been extended until August 22 so there’s really no excuse to miss the sensational Libby Munro in a stunning, game-changing role. Read my review here.

 

Wearing

 

Dress: Kookai

 

Cloak: Shovava

 

Shoes: Sachi Melissa Black Boot (be quick to get them at sale price!)

 

Jewels: Blue Illusion

 

 

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04
Aug
15

Grounded

 

Grounded

Queensland Theatre Company

The Greenhouse Diane Cilento Studio

July 29 – August 22 2015

 

 Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Grounded_libbymunro

 

If you want to see this year’s best performance and be part of the crowd who’ll say, “I saw her first” when she accepts an Academy Award one day, don’t miss Libby Munro in Grounded.

 

It’s an intense slow-burn one-woman drama and Munro is thrilling in it.

 

libbymunrohero

2013 WINNER of the Matilda Award for Best Female Actor in a Leading Role

 

You might have missed her in Venus In Fur – directed by Andrea Moor in 2013 – and wondered why ever since, since it’s one of the productions we haven’t stopped talking about.

 

Wesley Enoch explains simply, “A diva is a celebrated woman of outstanding talent…and Libby Munro is such a woman.”

 

George Brant’s brilliant insight into drone warfare from the female fighter pilot’s perspective is the best kind of contemporary poetry, without much of the punctuation you’d expect to see on a page, allowing the actor to find the natural cadence of the piece. On many levels it’s a quietly political piece but Grounded will endure and enjoy greater global success because it keeps the human story, like the heartbeat of Tony Brumpton’s soundscape for this superb production, at its core.

 

We walk into the Diane Cilento Studio – used for the first time in performance mode for Grounded – and hear the low hum of either the air con or the soundscape (it’s impossible to tell) and then see the indelible image of a woman in fetal position at the top of a small raked stage, a flight suit set below her. The suit, just for these opening moments, enjoys the most light. When she puts it on she doesn’t want to take it off, and says so. It’s part of her, her identity. It’s how she knows who she is. Later, she admits to having had sex in it. But only once.

 

The body becomes electric, the face becomes animated, almost like a child’s as she tells us with stars in her eyes, and Maverick arrogance and religious reverence, about the thrill of soaring through “the blue” in her Tiger, and laughing and drinking beer with the other Top Guns, her boys, at the end of each shift.

 

Then suddenly there’s the shock, surprise and delight that comes with love and the pink stripe of pregnancy, and the birth of a beautiful baby girl…who needs “attention”. We feel her confusion and commitment to both the family and the air force as she tries to adjust to the military’s version of “work-life balance”. We watch, dismayed, as she takes her place behind a screen every day for 12 hours at a time to become one of the Chair Force, wirelessly controlling a death-dealing reaper drone from a dark trailer in the Nevada desert. You can’t make out their faces but from their movement you can identify, without any doubt, The Guilty. Suddenly, we miss the blue too.

 

Through vivid description, though without morbid graphic detail (the economy of words and the measured pace saving us from the darkest corner of our imaginations), we see body parts flying through the air and what remains of the bodies merging with the grey sand on the screen as The Pilot “lingers”, safe from death, in her $11 million “eye in the sky”. The threat of death has been removed.

 

Can you imagine? The vivid pictures Munro paints with Brant’s prose will sweep you up and along on the journey so be ready; it’s one hell of a ride. You might feel your stomach turn – it’s the G-Force effect – or feel the need to shake it off and get your land legs back after such a tumultuous storytelling event.

 

Testament to the lasting impression this production leaves, on opening night there were many in the audience who stayed sitting in their seats after the curtain call, just sitting…perhaps hoping to be offered something stronger than champagne.

 

In what must constitute the acting masterclass of the year, Munro expertly shows us every tiny detail of her world, just as a “world builder” novelist does. We get a sense of the vastness, the magic of “the blue”, the comedy and tragedy of trying to schedule TV time, sex, sleep, and daycare drop-off “special time” in between 12-hour shifts surrounded by military males (staring at “military age” male targets). And all of this without the aid of over-zealous production elements, which are wisely kept simple, completely unfettered, thanks to an unassuming and super talented creative team, who have allowed the actor to take centre stage. No fancy projections here, just the blue-turning-grey of a quietly commanding abstract design to literally frame the actor…and the perfectly timed sound of a beating heart. (Designer Georgina Greenhill. Lighting Designer Ben Hughes. Sound Designer Tony Brumpton). Not that we can take our eyes off Munro for long to really study anything else in the room…

 

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A flawless brunette beauty, tall, slender and strong, even in the most sensitive, vulnerable moments, Munro has the striking looks and arresting presence of a supporting actress envied by leading ladies who fail to cast a similar spell over captivated audiences and can’t for the life of them understand why. The rich, nuanced vocal work is superb and the pace, as we leap across the hours, days, years, is as real-time as it gets. The performance is beautifully shaped and layered by Director, Andrea Moor. The repetition is almost too much at one point, but it serves to help us appreciate the strange routine of virtual warfare, which allows a fighter pilot to get the job done and make it home in time for dinner.

 

When you see Munro’s tour-de-force performance in the intimate space of the Diane Cilento Studio you’ll understand I’m not exaggerating. You’ll come under her spell and know too that she’s something special. She must be the spunkiest, sexiest, most compelling actress on an Australian stage right now. Hers is a sublime performance of a hard-hitting, game-changing text that could mean we won’t see Munro on a local stage for a little while after this season closes on August 22. Better be quick to book. Grounded is not to be missed.

 

17
Jul
15

HOME

 

Home

QTC & Force of Circumstance

Diane Cilento Studio, The Greenhouse

July 14 – 25 2015

 

Reviewed by Katelyn Panagiris

 

home

 

 

Presented by Queensland Theatre Company and produced by Force of Circumstance, HOME is a rich, poignant and honest exploration of what home means. It has a pure intent to include the audience completely in this exploration, resulting in an experience that is evocative and deeply personal.

 

 

HOME is a journey across time and space that takes us to New York, Sydney, Brisbane, Texas and Egypt, encompassing everything from acceptance to growing up, family, love and ultimately, belonging. What emerges is a tapestry of stories from Margi Brown Ash’s own life that are intricately woven together by director Leah Mercer and powerfully performed by Margi Brown Ash and her son, Travis Ash.

 

We are told from the start of the performance that we are not one self but many across a lifetime. As a young person I find this prospect comforting and exciting, and I am reminded of George Bernard Shaw’s quote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Over the course of the play, Margi Brown Ash recreates herself over and over again: we see ‘Margi the Teenager’, ‘Margi the Mother’, ‘Margi the Actor’ and so on. Her performance is honest and magnetic, quite literally drawing audience members on stage with her to assume several roles within the play. Travis Ash’s performance as a storyteller is equally kind and generous and he gives voice to those from across the world with a fundamentally different experience of home.

 

In fact, warmth permeates through every element of this production.

 

Bev Jensen’s design creates an open and malleable space that contains reminders of the comforts of home, and the combination of Ben Hughes’ lighting design and Travis Ash’s composition is highly evocative. Moreover, the interaction of AV, lighting, set and costume design allows for endless opportunities for clever play throughout the performance.

 

HOME is comprised of many playful, familiar moments – such as the chaotic dinner table with newly proclaimed vegetarian teenager – alongside moments that are unfamiliar and distant from my own life. In particular, the story of a Palestinian man whose home is destroyed by the Israeli military is insightful and a moving reminder that I belong not only to Australia, but to a global community responsible for the safety and belonging of all.

 

After all, “your story is my story”.

 

HOME is a unique and special experience that connects artist and audience; past, present and future, and the many homes that we inhabit throughout our lives. The true power of HOME lays in its ability to awaken individual stories so that it is almost impossible to talk about this performance without talking about one’s own sense of home. HOME plays at QTC’s newly named Diane Cilento Studio until July 25. It’s a performance not to be missed.

 




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