Promising new theatre and impressive performances
By Myron My
The Stairs Are Moving is a new play by writer and director Neil Triffett. Combining experimental techniques with traditional theatre, the story follows two siblings who reunite due to the passing of their Aunt Petunia.
Triffett has taken the unusual course of having minimal stage direction. For most of the show, the characters would use direct audience address to further the story. It was quite intriguing to hear these series of mainly monologues unfold, however it felt like a lot of the action disappeared, as it became more and more a series of “talking head” scenes. It got frustrating watching the actors say they were doing something when I just wanted them to physically do it.
Performer Charlotte Nicdao was the shining star of this production. Her ability to switch from not only calm and diligent Tulip to erratic and obsessive Tulip, but also to one of the crazy aunts was a joy to watch. Similarly, Carolyn Masson as the recently deceased Aunt Petunia provided great insight and emotion to a character that you therefore sympathise with despite the secrets she holds.
The scenes with lewd, crude and rude Aunt Olga and Aunt Tiffany (Nicdao and Masson) were definitely needed to lift the mood and the energy of the play. Having said that, there were moments of strong conviction from Sarah Plummer and Maurice Mammoliti as the two siblings. It was evident that there was a strained relationship between the characters but it would have been great to explore that more organically as revelations came quickly and out of the blue.
The lighting played an important part in the show, illuminating different spaces on stage to designate time, place and character, and setting the different moods and tones. There were moments where the wrong area was lit up and the actors began their scenes in the dark and the dark lighting sometimes detracted from the intensity of the scene, as we could not see the actors’ faces clearly.
The Stairs Are Moving is a highly original play with some very strong performances from its cast. Although not the easiest story to follow, Triffett should be congratulated on creating something very different for audiences to see.
Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton.
Season: Until 3 November | Wed – Sat 8:00pm, Sun 2:00pm
Tickets: $20 Full | $15 Concession