Posts Tagged ‘room to play

10
Apr
17

Red Sky Morning

Red Sky Morning

Room to Play

Lisa Taylor-King Gallery

March 29 – April 8 2017

 

Reviewed by Katy Cotter

 

 

Room To Play Theatre

Lauded Australian playwright, Tom Holloway’s, beautiful work is given grace by Brisbane actors, Wayne Bassett, Maddi Kennedy – Tucker and Heidi Manche.

 

Room to Play strives to create intimate performances in industrial-like spaces outside of the typical theatre. It was my first visit to the Lisa Taylor-King Gallery in Newmarket, and when I stepped inside a backyard tin shed I was intrigued. Being familiar with Australian playwright Tom Holloway’s work, I knew this setting was a perfect match for his story Red Sky Morning. The play has three characters – a man, a woman, and a girl – and it focuses on a traumatic event in the family’s life.

Holloway’s style arose from the post-dramatic movement. During a time when theatre was becoming experimental and fragmented, Holloway took what he loved from those plays and began inserting narrative back in. With overlapping dialogue, reading his plays can be quite the challenge, though seeing one performed well is a testament to his great writing. Director Beth Child has achieved this.

The action was minimal, having each character claim a small portion of the stage. The man (Wayne Bassett) was seated on a sun-bleached grey bench, used to look out over his property or as a counter in his hardware shop. The girl, played by (Madison Kennedy-Tucker) occupied a computer chair that shifted from being a warm bed to curl up on, or a couch to disappear into. The woman, (Heidi Manche) had a chaise-lounge that acted as a bed, a kitchen bench, and a barrier against her stark reality.

Child focussed on the text, which, as I’ve mentioned, switches rapidly at times back and forth between the characters. The actors handled this with precision, listening intently to each other and harnessing the musicality of Holloway’s writing. There were three pauses I can recall when all action and speaking ceased, and the actors and audience were awarded a breath. These were consciously placed by the director and allowed a moment of reflection – the silence was beautiful. Though the pace was mostly all go-go-go, I loved watching the character’s melt into heartbreaking moments, revealing the humanity of Holloway’s work.

These are ordinary people – like you and me – and feelings of frustration, desperation and despair are relatable. Also our ability to laugh in dark times. There are plenty of comedic moments in this play.

A genuine connection exists between the characters and the audience that is not forced. They are confessing their secrets to us, but Child’s direction allows us to ease in and get to know the three characters before hitting us in the guts with that ending. This play is superb in its slow burning tension.

All three performances by Basset, Manche and Kennedy-Tucker are stunning. Whilst completely in the moment of their individual story, they never abandon the other voices but allow those narratives to affect their own.

The production is perfectly balanced, captivating, and emotionally devastating.

Room To Play Theatre

Red Sky Morning

21
May
16

Tragedy!

 

Tragedy!

Anywhere Festival & Ease Productions

Paddington Substation

8 – 16 May 2016

 

Reviewed by Jackson Kellaway

 

tragedy

 

I will admit I was skeptical to see this show. Having read the small blurb found on the website I was honestly walking into this show without an ounce of knowledge as to what to expect. Particularly because of the venue, The Paddington Substation, I was intrigued. Little did I know that the Substation is actually home to the Room To Play Independent Theatre. It provides an area for any creatives to go and make use of the space. During Anywhere Festival it was home to Ease Productions and their performance of Tragedy, a show written, directed and performed by Elizabeth (Libby) Scales.

Once I arrived at the venue I got to explore and have a drink before the show began and listen to the musician, Amy Scales, set the mood. Creative blood must run in the family as she is sister to Libby. Fortunately I was able to have a quick chat to Libby beforehand and find out more about the future of the show because tonight was the final showing…for now.

Soon the lights dimmed and we were seated. (I was smart enough to sit next to the reserved seat which meant later in the show I was the shoulder for Libby to lean on). Out comes Artemis an ancient Greek God who wasn’t important enough to be sitting in on the meeting of the Gods that was happening at that very moment. She was instead sent to give an important lesson to the humans of Brisbathania.

We were told that the Gods were angry and furious and angry and furious and angry and furious (one of the many lines in the show that were repeated over and over for comedic effect – almost tipping over into the annoying category) and they felt useless because of the modern day humans lack of praise to them. They are feeling irrelevant and are deciding on a “restructure”.

In terms of staging, The Room to Play Theatre has a small raised platform which means the audience are extremely “involved” in the show. Meaning, the fourth wall is often broken and who else are you going to talk to during an hour long one-woman show? Libby did a great job of interacting with the projection on the back wall, whether it be to her subservient servants (who eventually disobey her and walk off), her best friend (who clearly needs to understand that fake disconnection doesn’t work on Skype) and two small clips – one at the beginning and one at the end – that show Libby running around frantically in public because she can’t find her phone and the latter because she got decaf. These introduced the audience to the theme of the show and brought light to the generation currently roaming the earth.

During the show Libby has a little sing along with Dolly of Partonia; she sings a parody of Jolene and later gives us some sampling of her dance moves whilst Tina Turner plays on the projection Simply the Best. This is playing during her metamorphosis into a God that is learning to live in this world. She has to do this after discovering she has been made redundant, losing her place in the fluffy clouds.

 

Tragedy-image-May-2016

 

This show probably isn’t one I would normally attend but I am glad I came along to it. It was a great experience and I was definitely learning tips for when, if ever, I want to do my own one man show….

Libby dropped that Tragedy! may be making a return so definitely keep an eye out for intros one in the future.