Tag: Amelia Lever-Davidson

REVIEW: Louris Van De Geer’s TRIUMPH

Real stories of problematic victims

By Myron My

In defiance of its title, Louris Van De Geer’s Triumph is a trilogy of thematically linked and emotionally disturbing stories that explore people’s desire to connect with others. With Triumph, Van De Geer confirms why she was named as one of Melbourne Writers Festival’s ’30 under 30’ best young writers. Bringing her words to life are a talented and dedicated cast of five – Aljin Abella, Syd Brisbane, Anouk Gleeson-Mead, Emma Hall and Leone White – who irrespective of being the main character of one story or the supporting role with thirty seconds of stage time in another, ensure that their characters consistently retain depth, authenticity and real humanity to them.

Triumph.jpg

The first story takes inspiration from Tania Head, a woman who revealed she survived the Twin Towers from the 78th floor of the World Trade Centre. Head went on to become president of the World Trade Centre Survivors’ Network support group and spent countless years helping survivors heal. However, in 2007, it was revealed that Head wasn’t even in America at the time of the attacks but had fabricated her entire story. White convincingly brings out the conflicting nature of this woman who on the one hand is compassionate and empathetic, but on the other, is duplicitous and manipulative. Director Mark Pritchard does a great job with utilising the entire space available and ensuring that everything that happens on stage has the audience’s attention, to the point where I was so transfixed by what was going on centre stage that I almost missed a pivotal scene occurring simultaneously side of stage.

The second piece has Hall and Gleeson-Mead playing a mother and daughter, with the daughter sick in hospital, unknowingly a victim of Munchausen by Proxy. As with the first piece, Van De Geer’s writing style ensure that we are drip-fed pieces of intriguing information that keeps us constantly wondering what exactly is going on, until suddenly it is made clear. The complexity of the desire to be needed is explored quite effectively to the point where you’re not quite sure how to feel by the time this story concludes. There are some strongly nuanced performances by Hall and fourteen-year-old Gleeson-Mead, as they explore this unique mother-daughter relationship.

The third story, based on suicide pacts in Japan, shows two strangers meeting up who have decided to end their lives together. Abella and Brisbane are very relaxed with their characters and their interactions with each other feel quite natural given the circumstances they find themselves in. Romanie Harper‘s set design is at its best with this story, with a number of ominous-looking trees seemingly enveloping the two men. Amelia Lever-Davidson‘s lighting design further enhances the darkness and loneliness, which is brilliantly encapsulated with an evocative final scene.

Triumph is a dark look at how we are constantly looking for connections to other people, even if it is through tragedy or deceit. While the stories do not all have a neat resolution with everything explained, Van De Geer’s thought-provoking script allows you to come to your own conclusions as to how we should regard these people. When you get right down to it, we are all just looking for a purpose for existing, no matter how misguided we may be in finding that purpose.

Venue: fortyfive downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 28 February | Tue- Sat 7.30pm, Sun 3pm
Tickets:
$35 Full | $28 Conc

Bookings: fortyfive downstairs

Image by Sarah Walker

Review: NOA at La Mama

Interesting possibilities end up all at sea

By Myron My

I love it when there is something unique or different about a performance and when we were asked which way we would like to enter the stage, I thought that NOA would be one of those experiences. We could enter the conventional way or go up some stairs, down a ladder and be led to our seats in the dark.

There was much anticipation about what was about to transpire as everyone got seated and the performance began. Unfortunately, for the next 45 minutes I sat there often confused, sometimes uninterested and ultimately left wondering about too many things.

NOA

NOA attempted to look at themes of loss, friendship and survival, yet I struggled to find any definitive moments where any of these were explored. Excluding the last few minutes of the show, we were witness to two siblings (Karen Sibbing and Joshua Ferenbach) playing different characters in short skit-like scenes, including Mike the Magician and his “amazing” 3 cans/2 coins trick but nothing particular came from any of this.

The flimsy plot revolves around Noa and his sister – who live inside a bunker built by Noa and are honing their survival skills for their own experiences. The character development was minimal at best and just when I thought we were going to get some idea as to why these characters were doing what they were doing it went back to the surreal character dress-ups. However I must say the commitment which the performers played their troubled characters was a highlight of NOA.

Eugyeene Teh’s set design was the other highlight. Much time and effort had gone into replicating a bunker and encapsulating its claustrophobic and tight environment. Lighting designer Amelia Lever-Davidson further amplified this sensation with her atmospheric changes from darkness through dullness to dazzling brightness.

Overall and unfortunately, NOA felt contrived and had a level of pretentiousness to it that prevented me from connecting with the piece. I appreciate that theatre should investigate unknown areas and be innovative and explorative but unlike Noah’s Ark, this ship sank very quickly for me.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street St, Carlton

Season: Until 21 December | Tues, Wed, Sun 6:30pm. Thu-Sat 7:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession

Bookings: http://lamama.com.au