Tag: Daniel Schlusser

Arena Theatre Presents TRAPPER

Captivating for all ages

By Leeor Adar

Arena Theatre has given consistently challenging and engaging works of theatre aimed at their 5 to 25 year-old market since their inception in 1966. The theatre company has constantly kept the issues of interest to youth in the present day in their focus, but what is particularly fantastic about Arena is that the appeal of their work goes beyond the specific age groups for whom they create, appeasing teenagers and their parents alike – or just charming your average theatre-goer.


Their latest creation, Trapper, is a futuristic and visually stunning set created from giant sculptural machines that light up and engage with the performers and their bodies. Designed by co-creator Jolyon James, with sound design and composition by Ania Reynolds and lighting design by Paul Lim (Additive), the stage ebbs and flows with the performers in an extraordinary and exhilarating manner.

From a selection of writings, the performers deliver a series of stories and segments that concern everything from our engagement with technology to the vastness of our capabilities and failings. Under the direction of co-creator of Christian Leavesley, the integration of the ‘trapping’ surrounds integrates so well with the profound topics discussed, and it is the human capacity to continue to exist (despite what we create that can destroy and expand our existence) that forms the underlying theme to Trapper.

Cleverly, the production appeals to its younger audiences as it takes us into the digital everyday life of a teenager – but the wit and whimsy of youth isn’t so far from adult engagement, as we are all reminded of our digital addictions. Once the younger members in the audience are enthralled, the piece continues to ascend to loftier places, with segment by segment asking larger and larger questions, ultimately reaffirming every individual’s place in the chaos of the world around. Thus Trapper artfully touches on an expansive set of topics with humour and poignancy.

Trapper is a thoroughly ambitious project, but Arena and their capable performers (Rachel Perks, Hamish Irvine, Daniel Schlusser and Naomi Rukavina) deliver with total vitality. The season was short, but hopefully this will not be its only one, so when it returns, take along anyone and everyone – Trapper is a journey of delight.

Trapper was performed at the Melbourne Arts Centre from 3-5 August, 2017. For further information about this production and company, visit: http://www.arenatheatre.com.au/

Review: La Mama Presents DITTO, A STORY

Unusual look at the theatre in theatre

By Myron My

Ditto, A Story is a love tale between three actor friends trying to get all they can out of life. Not only are they looking for the one but they are also in search of their one big break.

The most intriguing part of Ditto…A Story is when the three friends attend their ‘audition’. It’s an audition performed live that is taken by a different director each night.


On opening night, Deborah Leiser Moore, a director who creates a lot of physical and immersive performance-based works takes the actors through her own audition process. It’s very much art imitating life and you can’t help but feel nervous and anxious for the actors and that you are intruding on a very personal moment where they are genuinely vulnerable.

Unfortunately the three characters of Freya, Que and Moqui upon whom this story turns (Malina Maria Mackiewicz, Mischa Grunenberg and Reece Vella) lacked believability, and I felt more exploration was needed regarding their desires and wants. There were times I felt reminded that I was watching actors on stage rather than the actual characters.

The set consists of a number of sheets as curtains hanging on a line from one side of the stage to the other that the actors slide open and closed to go “backstage”. The busker (Annie Schofield) sits at the end of the stage and sets the “chapter” of each scene by playing drums and at times naming locations such as ‘bar’ or ‘taxi’. I quite enjoyed this process as it allows the visual to be created as you see it.

Lech Mackiewicz’s script has moments of sharp and witty dialogue, however there are times where things occur out of nowhere that seem implausible or there is no development on these revelations. In the final scene for example, there is a change in the relationship between Que and Moqui and Freya that seems out of place but is left up in the air.

Ditto, A Story takes a very innovative approach to theatre with its audition element and breaks the barrier of observer and participant in interesting ways, but it falls short in allowing its characters to establish an enduring connection with the audience.

Guest directors:

Deborah Leiser Moore (June 19)

Melanie Beddie (June 20)

Suzanne Chaundy (June 21)

Cheyney Caddy (June 22)

Daniel Schlusser (June 23)

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street Carlton

Season: Until 16 June | Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc

 or 9347 6142