Witty skits on life, death and the edge of sanity
By Jen Coles
Baggage Productions has been working for years to promote female writers and performers in the industry with intelligence and wit.
Their latest, The Subconscious Cometh (Costigan/ Burton/ Nash), is an extremely original piece of theatre, detailing discussions of loss, life and death.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect as the program notes nor the performer biographies hinted at what was to follow.
Thankfully, what did was an extremely tight and poignant program of short skits and monologues featuring all performers in a variety of roles.
The program began by introducing the cast, and their fears, in an extremely comedic way (almost like a game show).
After the introduction, we segued into ‘Motivational Dating’, featuring a character who used cooking metaphors to describe his “life menu,” which particularly resonated as we see people try to sell us new concepts every day for virtually the same things.
Other highlights were ‘Haunting the James’s’ – did we ever consider the ghost’s point of view about hauntings? – and ‘Spirit Guy’.
Featuring the only two males in the cast, the latter involved a character watching his family after he’d died and being assisted by his spirit guide who was perhaps a bit unorthodox. It was completely touching and humorous, as were many of the pieces in the show.
The monologues in the show were of excellent class, too; reasonably paced and all ended at a suitable place that made a point.
However, the monologues worked best when they were short and succinct; both James Deeth’s ‘Tasteless’ and Dan Walls’ ‘Changeling’ made their point well, but were a touch too long and stretched the show a bit.
In comparison to some of the shorter pieces of the show, the fact they seemed to sit on the same bits of material more for dramatic effect actually lessened the meaning, not enhanced it.
Regardless, the setting, lighting and subject matter made for an intimate discussion and reflection on the human soul.
My personal favourite were the discussions of our subconscious, ego and alter-ego (clearly an examination of Freud) manifested as a spider, a neurotic mess, and an extremely rude being.
The Subconscious Cometh was a wonderful evening that managed to make you think hard about yourself, and laugh at the same time.
Baggage have created a terrific piece of theatre that they should probably think about expanding into a full-length play. But for now, it was short, to the point, and excellently produced.
Baggage Productions’ season of The Subconscious Cometh played at Trades Hall, Carlton June 14 to 25th June 2011.